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1613 Nautical Map of Maritime Canada, Greenland and the North Atlantic

Tabula nautica, qua repraesentātur orae maritimae meatus, ac freta, noviter a H. Hudsono Anglo ad Caurum supra Novam Franciam indagata anno 1612. - Main View

1613 Nautical Map of Maritime Canada, Greenland and the North Atlantic


Henry Hudson's Final Voyage.



Tabula nautica, qua repraesentātur orae maritimae meatus, ac freta, noviter a H. Hudsono Anglo ad Caurum supra Novam Franciam indagata anno 1612.
  1613 (dated)     6 x 13.5 in (15.24 x 34.29 cm)     1 : 13600000


This is Johann Theodore De Bry's 1613 edition of Hessel Gerritz' chart of the North Atlantic and the Canadian Maritimes, based on the reports of Henry Hudson's fourth, final voyage. Predated only by Gerritsz' much rarer 1612 issue, this is the first map of Hudson Bay and the surrounding region, and remained the best chart of the northern regions of Canada for decades. The chart reaches from the British Isles to the western shore of James Bay, extending from 50° - 70° N.
Canada and the Maritimes
To the west, Hudson's Bay is named 'Mare Magnum ab M. Hudsono primum inventum.' (Great sea, first found by Mr. Hudson). By terming it the 'Mare Magnum', Hudson was suggesting that the body of water was, in fact, the Pacific Ocean - a notion supported by the absence of a western shore. At its southern extent, and in more detail, is James Bay, here marked (in Latin) 'the bay where Hudson did winter.' While no passages westward are shown in James Bay, the lack of any clear indication that no passages further westward from Hudson's Bay existed proved a spur to explorers throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, as explorers continued to seek a Northwest Passage to the Pacific. The bay and the strait leading to it includes many placenames, some familiar. Salisbury Island, Digges Islands, 'Holde with hoope' (Akpatok Island), the oddly named islands 'Lomles Inlet,' and 'The Iland of good Fortun,' which seems to be a misnaming of 'Loks Land Island' (named in no way for 'luck' but rather for Michael Lok, a 1570s London financier and one Frobisher's patrons).

The Canadian Labrador coast is shown from Hudson's Bay to the Strait of Belle Isle, here named Le Grand Bay. Beyond the strait is the north part of Newfoundland, here named Ilha de Bacalhao (Island of Cod). To the north is the southern part of Baffin Island, separated from Greenland by the Davis Strait.
Between Greenland and Iceland appears the imaginary island of Frisland - essentially a double mapping of Iceland based upon conflicting reports of its location. This spurious isle appeared first on the fraudulent 1561 Zeno map, but was nevertheless copied by numerous subsequent cartographers including Ortelius, Mercator, and Blaeu, and as here by Gerritz. Although appearing simply here, many of the maps of the 16th century afforded this nonexistent isle more detail than Iceland itself.
An Uncatchable Bus
Another phantom, Bus or 'Buss Island' appears as well. This island was recorded during the third Frobisher expedition in 1578 by sailors aboard the ship Emanuel of Bridgwater. The Emanuel was a class of vessel known as a Busse, and its crew named the island for the type of vessel that its discoverers used. Today, it is generally believed that the sighting resulted from misinterpreted optical effects. This did not prevent one 'Thomas Shepard' from claiming in 1671 to have explored the island. Discoverers would miss Bus repeatedly despite the increase of Atlantic traffic in the 18th century: this resulted in later maps adjusting the supposed size of the island down until its location was labeled 'site of sunken island' on 19th century charts. In 1818 during his first Arctic expedition, John Ross sought the sunken island; finding no depth at 180 fathoms at the appropriate location, he concluded that it did not exist at all.
Decorative Engraving
Johann Theodore de Bry, taught as he was by his goldsmith and engraver father, did not neglect the aesthetics of this map: a trio of ships cross the Atlantic, and the map is embellished by three superb compass roses. At top center are the British Royal arms. Upon an attractive strapwork cartouche drawn in the style of a stretched skin is a funerary epigram dedicated to Hudson, marooned by his mutineer crew to die in the bay now bearing his name.
Publication History and Census
This map was engraved by Johann Theodore de Bry for inclusion in the tenth volume of his Petit Voyages. While the books are reasonably well represented in institutional collections, the separate map only appears six times in OCLC.


Theodore de Bry (1528 - March 27, 1598) was an important publisher active in the mid to late 16th century. De Bry was born in 1528 in Liege, then a Prince-Bishopric and thus independent of neighboring nations. The De Bry family were accomplished jewelers and copperplate engravers and, following the family tradition, Theodore apprenticed in these fields under his grandfather Thiry de Bry senior (? - 1528), and later under his father, Thiry de Bry junior (1495 - 1590). To avoid growing religious strife in the region Theodore de Bry left Liege for the more tolerant Strasburg. Shortly afterwards, in 1577, he moved again to Antwerp and, in 1580 to London, where he became well known for his engraving skills. It was either in Antwerp or in London that De Bry befriended the English publisher and editor of traveler's tales Richard Hakluyt. Inspired by Hakluyt's work, De Bry began to collect travelers' tales, particularly of voyages to New World. His most prominent acquisition was most likely the letters and papers of the French painter and mapmaker Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues discussing a disastrous attempt by French Huguenots to colonize parts of Florida. Around, 1588 De Bry moved to Frankfurt where he began his own publishing firm. Among De Bry's earliest and most prominent publications are his Grands Voyages, a multivolume compilation of travelers' tales that included the work of Le Moyne as well as some of the earliest published depictions of the North American mainland. The firm also published various other works including an important account of early English attempts to colonize Virginia with illustrations by John White. De Bry died in Frankfurt on March 27, 1598, having never left the shores of Europe, though his name was associated throughout Europe with tales of travel and adventure. Theodore de Bry was succeeded by his son John-Theodore (1560 - 1623) who continued the publishing firm until his own death in 1623. Learn More...

Hessel Gerritsz (1581 – September 4, 1632) was a Dutch engraver, cartographer, and publisher active in Amsterdam during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Gerritsz is considered to be the preeminent Dutch geographer of the 17th century. He was born in Assum, a town in northern Holland in 1581. As a young man he relocated to Alkmaar to accept an apprenticeship with Willem Jansz Blaeu (1571-1638). He followed Blaeu to Amsterdam shortly afterwards. By 1610 he has his own press, but remained close to Blaeu, who published many of his maps. In October of 1617 he was appointed the first official cartographer of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (Dutch East Indian Company) or VOC. A strategic position that offered him unprecedented access to the most advanced and far reaching cartographic data of the Dutch Golden Age. Unlike many cartographers of his period Gerritsz was more than a simple scholar and showed a true fascination with the world and eagerness to learn more of the world he was mapping in a practical manner. In 1628 he joined a voyage to the New World which resulted in several seminal maps published by Joannes de Laet. Among his more prominent works are a world map of 1612, a 1613 map of Russia by the brilliant Russian prince Fyodor II Borisovich Godunov (1589 – 1605), a 1618 map of the pacific that includes the first mapping of Australia, and an influential 1630 map of Florida. Gerritsz died in 1632. His position with the VOC, as well as many of his printing plates, were taken over by Willem Janszoon Blaeu. Learn More...


De Bry, J. T., Indiae Orientalis pars X, (Frankfurt) 1613.    


Very good. Lightly toned with few marginal stains, else excellent with a bold, dark strike.


OCLC 55594597. Burden, P., The Mapping of North America, #165. Kershaw, Kenneth A., Early Printed Maps of Canada, #55.