Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 111

A Map Showing Fascinating Geographic Misconceptions in Colonial America

"Carte Nouvelle de l'Amerique Angloise Contenant la Virginie, Mary-Land, Caroline, Pensylvania Nouvelle Iorck. N: Iarsey N: France, et les Terres Nouvellement Decouerte...", Mortier, Pierre

Subject: Colonial Eastern United States & Canada

Period: 1700 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

35.9 x 23.5 inches
91.2 x 59.7 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

This large, interesting map is filled with various geographic misconceptions of the late seventeenth century. The map is based on Robert Morden 's important map of 1698, New Map of the English Empire in America, even though the cartouche credits le Sieur S. (Nicolas Sanson). It does not include Morden's inset of the Atlantic, otherwise the cartography is the same. The area shown extends from Hudson Bay and the Canadian Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi, R. Mitchisipi ou Rio Grande, enters the gulf too far west; an error resulting from the intentionally faulty reports of French explorer La Salle. The coastal areas are filled with names including James Tovum on the well-defined Chesapeake Bay. The map has both French and English names including a mention of a Copper Mine near what would become Chicago. The Great Lakes are all present, but with some odd shapes; Lake Michigan is square in shape and Green Bay is very elongated and named Bay de Puans (Bay of Evil Smells). A prominent mountain range begins in the Michigan peninsula and runs all the way down through Florida. This spurious feature is one of the most mysterious geographic mistakes in the mapping of North America. The notorious errors derived from the reports of John Lederer (Ashley Lake, the Savana, and the Desert Arenosa) are present in Caroline. Boston Harbor is inset at the upper left; this is the first example of an English colonial city on a map that did not originate in England. Printed on two sheets and joined.

References: Burden #765; Cumming #129; McCorkle #695.7.

Condition: A

A sharp impression with contemporary color. There are some minor unobtrusive spots and a short centerfold separation in the bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $2,200 - $2,500

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 9/11/2019