This item has been sold, but you can get on the Waitlist to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1638 Jansson Map of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf Coast

Insulae Americanae in Oceano Septentrionali cum Terris adiacentibus. - Main View

1638 Jansson Map of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf Coast


Classic Dutch Map of the Caribbean.


Insulae Americanae in Oceano Septentrionali cum Terris adiacentibus.
  1636 (undated)     15 x 20.5 in (38.1 x 52.07 cm)     1 : 10200000


This is a beautiful 1638 example of Jan Jansson's 1636 map of the Caribbean Islands and the adjacent coastlines of North and South America. This is among the most beautiful maps of the region produced in the first half of the 17th century. Moreover, the present example is in superb condition with gorgeous, bright original color.
A Closer Look
Jansson's work here is derived from his competitor and neighbor. the Blaeu Firm. The geography derives from Blaeu's West Indische Paskaert and Hessel Gerritsz' unacquirable and authoritative 1631 De Eylanden Ende Vastelanden Van Westindien op de Noordzee. The map thus reflects those geographers' commanding knowledge of the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast.
A Chartlike Map
While Jansson's atlases were not intended for use at sea, his sources were Dutch West India nautical charts. The geographical detail reflects its sources in that the interiors of its landmasses are empty: nautical charts were not concerned with matters beyond the coastlines. The decorative features also emphasize the map's 'chartiness': the water areas feature rhumb lines, fine compass roses, and well-engraved sailing ships.
Richly Decorative
In addition to its nautical features, the map is embellished with two lovely cartouches. In the lower right, the scale cartouche is flanked with putti playing with navigational tools. In the upper left, the title cartouche's two putti are accompanied by snakes, a turtle, a bat, and an alarming number of iguanas.
Publication History and Census
This map was engraved by Jansson for inclusion in Jansson's 1636 Appendix Atlantis. It remained in print throughout the run of Jansson's atlases. The present example corresponds to the 1638 Latin text edition noted in Van der Krogt. Separate examples of this map are well represented in institutional collections, and the map appears on the market from time to time in varied condition. Examples of this quality are nonetheless difficult to find.


Jan Jansson or Johannes Janssonius (1588 - 1664) was born in Arnhem, Holland. He was the son of a printer and bookseller and in 1612 married into the cartographically prominent Hondius family. Following his marriage he moved to Amsterdam where he worked as a book publisher. It was not until 1616 that Jansson produced his first maps, most of which were heavily influenced by Blaeu. In the mid 1630s Jansson partnered with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius, to produce his important work, the eleven volume Atlas Major. About this time, Jansson's name also begins to appear on Hondius reissues of notable Mercator/Hondius atlases. Jansson's last major work was his issue of the 1646 full edition of Jansson's English Country Maps. Following Jansson's death in 1664 the company was taken over by Jansson's brother-in-law Johannes Waesberger. Waesberger adopted the name of Jansonius and published a new Atlas Contractus in two volumes with Jansson's other son-in-law Elizée Weyerstraet with the imprint 'Joannis Janssonii haeredes' in 1666. These maps also refer to the firm of Janssonius-Waesbergius. The name of Moses Pitt, an English map publisher, was added to the Janssonius-Waesbergius imprint for maps printed in England for use in Pitt's English Atlas. More by this mapmaker...

Hessel Gerritsz (1581 – September 4, 1632) was a Dutch engraver, cartographer, and publisher active in Amsterdam during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, among the most preeminent Dutch geographers 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. This strategic position 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 the production of his seminal maps, published by Joannes de Laet in his 1630 Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien; these would be aggressively copied by both the Blaeu and Hondius houses, and long represented the standard followed in the mapping of the new world. Among his other 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, along with many of his printing plates, were taken over by Willem Janszoon Blaeu. Learn More...


Jansson, J. and Hondius, H., Atlas Novus, (Amsterdam) 1638.    


Excellent. Fine original color with a bold strike. Few marginal spots, else fine.


OCLC 18563810. Van der Krogt, P. C. J., Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, (Vol 1), 9600:1 Burden, P., The Mapping of North America, 248.