Charting New Netherland, 1597-1682

1)  Novi Orbis Pars Borealis Americae, from Geographisch Handbuch, 1600, Cologne.

Mapmaker: Matthias Quad

This map from Quad’s general atlas of the world, an expansion of his 1592 edition, is a reduced version of Cornelis de Jode’s Americae Pars Borealis, Antwerp, 1593. It does not help much to locate the future New Netherland, but it does help to understand the limits of European perspective on the new continent. Although it appeared more than 100 years after the entry of the continent into European consciousness, it shows how little was known about the area between Virginia and the St. Lawrence. The map reflects details taken from Mercators’ 1569 atlas. The Mercator projection gives a squeezed effect to the northern extremities of the continent.

The medium of copperplate allows for more refinement of detail and text than the older woodcut, although hints of the latter hover in its style. Why so much text? Why in Latin? This is a document of information presented in the language of the scholar, the informed thinker. It would not help a captain on the high seas.

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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