Charting New Netherland, 1597-1682

4) Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova, from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1635, Amsterdam.

Mapmaker: Willem Jansz Blaeu

Willem Jansz Blaeu (1571-1638), surveyor, globe maker and publisher, was the head of a map-making firm with his two sons Joan and Cornelis whose remarkable achievements give it the supremacy in map production in any age.

This map of New Netherland and New England derives from Adriaen Block’s 1614 hand-drawn chart. The chart defined Manhattan and Long Island as islands after Block's explorations of Long Island Sound and coastal waters up to Cape Cod and it served as the cornerstone for Dutch claims to the lower Northeast.

Blaeu’s map replaces De Laet’s “Manhattes” with “Manatthans.” It is generously decorated with deer, foxes, bears, egrets, rabbits, cranes, turkeys, beavers, polecats and otters. Its elegant calligraphy and cartouche combine the clarity of its engraving and bright coloring to reinforce its appeal to colonize. Two fortified Indian villages, several canoes and European ships hint at the economic potential of the settlement. The map also testifies to the growing importance of aesthetics in map making, as Dutch cartographers reflect the flamboyant Baroque style and the burgeoning Golden Age.

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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