1639 Henricus Hondius Antique 1st Edition Map of North America California Island

Cartographer : Henricus Hondius

This magnificent original copper-plate engraved antique rare 1st state map of North America, with California as an Island, by Henricus Hondius was published in the 1639 French edition.
There were only 3 publications of this map by Hondius in the 1630s & 40s with Jan Jansson replacing the map with his signature in 1641.

The now seldom seen first state of an important, early Dutch map of North America. It one of the first Dutch atlas maps to show California as an island, preceded only by the Hondius Hondius world map of 1633. A note on the map recounting the story of the origin of the California-as-an-island refers to a Dutch captain who obtained a map of California depicted as an island from a captured Spanish ship. The note even provides the dimensions of the island. The Hondius map was an important conduit for bringing the island myth into the cartographic mainstream. Further, Tooley noted the map was also first attempt in Holland to add lakes connected to the St. Lawrence. One of these lakes on the map is in the approximate shape and position of Lake Ontario.
This was also one of a very few, early Dutch maps specifically of North America (as opposed to the entire Western Hemisphere). Aside from the rare De Jode map of 1593, this is the only folio-sized map of North America produced during the entire Dutch Golden Age.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Light and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Blue, pink, red, green, yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 23in x 20in (595mm x 510mm)
Plate size: - 22in x 19in (500mm x 470mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - Top margin extended from plate-mark
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

Henricus Hondius beautifully engraved map of North America had significant influence in perpetuating the theory of California as an island. This was of the influence of his powerful Dutch publishing house with no earlier maps representing California as an island maps having such a wide audience. The 1630s were a decade of constant development in the houses of Blaeu, Hondius & Jansson. It is interesting to note that Blaeu never produced a single sheet map of North America; producing a map of just the whole American continent, first produced in 1617. Also during this decade Joannes Janssonius became an active partner of Hondius, and although this map does not bear his mark, it is believe it was his creation, based on the very similar South American, at the same time, displaying his name.
Cartographically this map is a careful composition of many different sources. The depiction and nomenclature of the west, along with that of California, derive directly from the Henry Briggs The North Part of America, 1625. A legend placed strategically over the north-west coastline offers the opportunity to discontinue a coastline least understood. An unnamed lake still feeds a Rio del Norto flowing incorrectly south-west into what should be the headwaters of the Gulf of California. On the east bank of this river is Real de Nueua Mexico, or Santa Fe. The Gulf of Mexico and the Florida peninsula originate from the Hessel Gerritsz chart of c.1631.
The east coast, however, is harder to define; the south-east appears to be quite generic in form. It is the area north of here that does not appear to be from a particular source. The Chesapeake Bay area is defined in about as much detail as the scale and style of the map will allow, Iames Towne being clearly identified. NOVUM BELGIUM is unlike any other before it, the area between the Zuitt Reuier (Delaware River) and the Noort R (Hudson River) being greatly elongated on a north-east to south-west axis. New Amsterdam is curiously not designated although Fort Orange is present. For New England just a select few names have been chosen from John Smiths map of the area, 1616. The Gulf of St. Lawrence appears to follow de Laet more than Champlain. The latter is used to depict a single great Lake; however, its name, Lac des Iroquois, is borrowed from one nearby. Interestingly the author chose not use Champlains more recent 1632 map but the earlier 1612 Carte Geographique De La Nouvelle France; To avoid unknown territory he does not venture the river system further west, unlike Champlain. Along the Atlantic coast of Labrador we find for the first time much Dutch Nomenclature, reflecting their increased whaling activities in these waters. Hudson Bay is clearly derived from Briggs, 1625, except for the west coast where he introduces the cartography of Thomas James, 1633. The addition of a fox here could be seen as a veiled reference to Luke Foxe, whose own map of the previous year bears just such an animal.