Charting New Netherland, 1597-1682

3)  Nova Anglia Novum Belgium et Virginia, from Niewwe Wereld, Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien(Description of West India, 1630, Leiden.

Mapmakers: Hessel Gerritsz & Joannes de Laet

This map illustrates an important shift in the broader European culture. Wytfliet’s speculations, often inaccurate and certainly incomplete, reflect the long tradition of rhetorical values. De Laet provides for the practical Dutch concrete accuracy and truth as experience. This map is the first accurate depiction of the East Coast. It is the first printed map of New Netherland and the first to print the place names of New Amsterdam and Manhattan. The latter is accurately depicted as an island.

De Laet’s sources were the best. Besides active correspondences with on-site colonists in Virginia and Plymouth, De Laet had access as a founding director of the West India Company to all incoming information official and informal about New Netherland. The date (1624) of De Laet’s New World, Description of the West Indies suggests that De Laet began his work at the time the West India Company was founded (1621); the second edition, which contained this map as part of a new section on New Netherland (chaps. 7-11), was published in 1630, a year after the Company launched an active campaign to boost colonization with the granting of patroonships.

De Laet himself owned vast acreage in the Upper Hudson and was neighbor to his fellow director Killiaen van Rensselaer. Like Van Rensselaer, De Laet never came to the colony, but his sister Joanna lived in New Netherland from 1653-1673 and married twice, including to Johannes Hulter, another founding director.

Hessel Gerritsz, the actual maker of this map, was the first to publish in 1612 a report of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage.  Gerritsz had unique access to cartographic information as official cartographer of the Dutch East India Company (1617). 

This map puts one on sure footing at last in New Netherland with detailed accuracy. It would become the point of departure for maps of the colony long after the English takeover.

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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