1740 Seutter / Lotter Map of Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, the Caribbean

Mappa Geographica Regionem Mexicanam et Floridam Terrasque adjacentes, ut et Anteriores Americae Insulas, Cursus itidem et Reditus Navigantium versus flumem Missisipi et alias Colonias ob oculos ponens cura et sumtibus. - Main View

1740 Seutter / Lotter Map of Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, the Caribbean


War and Privateering in the West Indies.


Mappa Geographica Regionem Mexicanam et Floridam Terrasque adjacentes, ut et Anteriores Americae Insulas, Cursus itidem et Reditus Navigantium versus flumem Missisipi et alias Colonias ob oculos ponens cura et sumtibus.
  1740 (undated)     19.5 x 22.5 in (49.53 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 85000000


An old-color example of Mattheus Seutter's c. 1740 map of North America below the Great Lakes, including Mexico and the Caribbean. It reflects improvements in European cartography of the New World in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, as well as the ongoing competition between colonial empires, namely the contemporaneous War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1748).
A Closer Look
Coverage embraces from the Great Lakes to the northern portion of South America. The map distinguishes geographic regions and colonial claims (according to the 1713 Peace of Utrecht) by hand-coloring, though not always consistently (for example, the Florida Peninsula and Texas are shaded the same as 'Florida,' corresponding to the French territory of Lower Louisiana, though both were Spanish possessions). Detail includes rivers, lakes, mountains, settlements, forts, Native American groups, islands, hazards, shoals, anchorages, and major maritime routes. Annotations in Latin and French provide context.

At bottom-left, a lively scene depicts a naval battle and privateers examining treasure, reflecting ongoing privateer warfare between Spain, France, England, and other European powers in the Americas, especially the Caribbean. Four insets appear at right, depicting the ports of Portobello in Panama, Havana, Cartagena, and Veracruz, with soundings, anchorages, and information on fortifications and recent battles given. At top-left, four scales are provided within a decorative cartouche.
The War of Jenkins' Ear
The War of Jenkins' Ear (October 22, 1739 - October 18, 1748), known in Spain as the Guerra del Asiento, was fought between England and Spain. Fought over trade (slave trade), the stated cause of war was that Spain considering withdrawing from the 'lucrative' asiento, an agreement granting Britain limited trading rights in Spanish America. It became known as the War of Jenkins' Ear over one hundred years after the fighting began when historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle referred to the war by that name in his 1859 work History of Friedrich II. Robert Jenkins was the captain of the British brig Rebecca, which the Spanish 'coast guard' boarded in 1731 on suspicion of smuggling. The Spanish commander cut off Jenkins' left ear during the incident. The event drew widespread British ire as an 'insult to British honor' and a cause for war. The British and Spanish fought in the Caribbean from 1739 through 1742, when the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) demanded Spanish and British attention, and the appetite for the Caribbean war waned. The War of Jenkins' Ear ended with the same treaty that ended the War of the Austrian Succession, the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
Publication History and Census
This map was prepared by Mattheus Seutter and engraved by Tobias Conrad Lotter around the year 1740. It is undated, but the inset depicts the British fleet of Admiral Vernon entering the bay of Portobello in 1739, which serves as a terminus post quem. It was likely produced within the context of the War of Jenkins' Ear, which increased tumult in the hotly contested New World European colonies.

The map is based on Guillaume Delisle's groundbreaking 1703 map 'Carte des environs du Mississippi,' the first to accurately depict the full course of the Mississippi River. Seutter's work added the battle scene at bottom-left, the port insets at right, and information to bring the map up to date. In 1770, Lotter reissued the map, replacing the then-deceased Seutter's name and title with his own. Given the uncertainty of the map's date and the intermingling of digital and physical examples in institutional collections, a precise census is difficult to establish, but it looks to be listed among the holdings of some 20 institutions in the OCLC.


Matthäus Seutter (1678 - 1757) was one of the most important and prolific German map publishers of the 18th century. Seutter was born the son of a goldsmith but apprenticed as a brewer. Apparently uninspired by the beer business, Seutter abandoned his apprenticeship and moved to Nuremberg where he apprenticed as an engraver under the tutelage of the prominent J. B. Homann. Sometime in the early 1700s Seutter left Homann to return to Augsburg, where he worked for the prominent art publisher Jeremiad Wolff (1663 - 1724), for whom he engraved maps and other prints. Sometime around 1717 he established his own independent cartographic publishing firm in Augsburg. Though he struggled in the early years of his independence, Seutter's engraving skill and commitment to diversified map production eventually attracted a substantial following. Most of Seutter's maps are heavily based upon, if not copies of, earlier work done by the Homann and De L'Isle firms. Nonetheless, by 1731/32 Seutter was one of the most prolific publishers of his time and was honored by the German Emperor Karl VI who gave him the title of Imperial Geographer, after which most subsequent maps included the Avec Privilege designation. Seutter continued to publish until his death, at the height of his career, in 1757. Seutter had two engraver sons, Georg Matthäus Seutter (1710 - 173?) and Albrecht Carl Seutter (1722 - 1762). Georg Matthäus quit the business and relocated to Woehrdt in 1729 (and probably died shortly thereafter), leaving the family inheritance to his wastrel brother Albrecht Carl Seutter, who did little to advance the firm until in own death in 1762. Following Albrecht's death, the firm was divided between the established Johann Michael Probst (1727 - 1776) firm and the emerging firm of Tobias Conrad Lotter. Lotter, Matthäus Seutter's son-in-law, was a master engraver and worked tirelessly on behalf of the Suetter firm. It is Lotter, who would eventually become one of the most prominent cartographers of his day, and his descendants, who are generally regarded as the true successors to Matthäus Seutter. (Ritter, M. Seutter, Probst and Lotter: An Eighteenth-Century Map Publishing House in Germany., "Imago Mundi", Vol. 53, (2001), pp. 130-135.) More by this mapmaker...

Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717 - 1777) was a German engraver and map publisher. Lotter was the son of a baker and city guardsman, but married Euphrosina (1709 - 1784) Seutter, elder daughter of the prominent map publisher Matthäus Seutter. He began working at his is father-in-law's map business about 1740. Between 1740 and 1744 he produced, under Seutter's imprint, the Atlas minor, Praecipua orbis terrarum imperia, regna et provincias, Germania potissimum tabelli. Upon Seutter's death, in 1757, the firm's stock was taken over by his son, Albrecht Karl Seutter (1722 - 1762), who himself died in 1762, just a few years later. The remaining Seutter map plates were subsequently divided between Lotter and the publisher Johan Mitchell Probst (1727 - 1776). With the support of his sons, Matthäus Albrecht (1741 - 1810), Georg Friedrich (1744 - 1801) and Gustav Conrad (1746-1776), Tobias Conrad Lotter succeeded in building on the economic success and professional reputation of his father-in-law. In time, Lotter became one of the most prominent mid-18th century map publishers working in the German school. After Lotter's death in 1777, the business was taken over by his two eldest sons, who, lacking their father's business acumen, presided over the firm's slow decline. It was nonetheless passed on to a subsequent generation of Lotters, Matthäus Albrecht Lotter's sons, Gabriel (1776 - 1857) and Georg Friedrich (1787 - 1864), who pushed it into further decline until it faded out in the early-19th century. Learn More...


Good. Light soiling in upper left quadrant, very light worming loss on upper right border. Uneven toning along edge and centerfold, with one repair just east of the Yucatan Peninsula.


OCLC 1089189815, 85766041, 1089179870.