1719 Alexis Jaillot Large Antique Map of North America, Final Scarce Edition

Cartographer :Alexis Hubert Jaillot

  • Title : Amerique septentrionale divisee en ses principales parties, ou sont distingues les vns des autres les estats suivant qu'ils appartiennent presentemet aux Francois, Castillans, Anglois, Suedois, Danois, Hollandois, tiree des relations de toutes ces nations par le S. Sanson, Geographe Ordinaire du Roy...1719
  • Date : 1719
  • Size: 37 1/2in x 25in (950mm x 635mm)
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Ref:  35647

Alexis Hubert Jaillot first published this map of North America in 1674 in the middle of a centuries old argument as to whether California was indeed an Island or Peninsula. The map was to publish again in 1685, 1690, 1692 & 1695, with very little change to the plate. But in  1719 the plate was re-engraved making significant changes to the eastern seaboard, The Great Lakes, Mississippi River and California. But unlike many publishers of the time, Jaillot did not depict California as a peninsula but straddled both arguments, showing California neither as an Island but also not joined to the mainland, separated quite clearly by the Mer Rouge.

The 1719 date of this map places its publication as first hand information is becoming increasingly undeniable that California is not an Island, but this was at odds with the established idea, that California is an Island. Hence the reason for the change but the obvious resistance to depict California truly as part of the American mainland.. (Ref: Shirley; Tooley; M&B)

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 37 1/2in x 25in (950mm x 635mm)
Plate size: - 34 3/4in x 23in (885mm x 541mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

Background: Although California was depicted as a Peninsula in the early maps of North America by Mercator in 1531, Ortelius in 1570 and Wytfliet in 1597, this in-fact changed after Father Antonio Ascension mistakenly reported the possiblity of a great opening in the west coast, found by Spanish explorers, that led to a vast inland sea north of Cape Medocin. Father Ascension drew a map depicting his idea of California as an Island in 1620, which he duly sent to the King of Spain. The ship carrying this map and his report was captured by the Dutch and taken to Amsterdam, one of the main centres of European cartography. 
California as an Island was first published on a map in 1622 by Herrera but it was the English who first populised the idea with Henry Biggs in 1625 and John Speed in 1626-7. The Dutch followed with Hondius in 1631, De Laet 1633, Blaeu 1635, Visscher 1636 & Jansson in 1638. Such was Visschers and Janssons influence that it was sufficient to swing the whole of European Geography behind them, lasting until well into the 18th century. 
One of the first to correct the misconception was Guillaume Delisle at the beginning of the 18th century. He was confident enough to leave blank his maps where real knowledge was deficient. Father Eusebio Kino was the first known European to cross the mainland to the peninsula of Califorina and in 1705 printed a map debunking the misconception. His view though was rejected by many of the time including Moll, Senex, Overton, De Fer Chatelain, Keulen, Homann & Seutter. The latter publishing his map of America with California as an Island up until 1750. Between 1715-30 Van Der Aa tried to have it both ways publishing separate maps with California as both an Island & Peninsula. Finally in 1747 King Ferdinand VII by a Royal Decree declared "California is not an Island" after a voyage along the west-coast by Father Consag in 1746.