8) Pas-Kaart Van de Zee Kusten van Niew Nederland, 1682, Amsterdam.
Mapmaker: Johannes van Keulen
The part so far left out of this tale of European awareness of Northeast America are the maps which guided the explorers and colonists to the land.
Van Keulen’s chart of New York and Long Island, with generous inset maps of the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers, reminds one of the perils of the high seas. In this chart the wondrous detail of topography, place names, shoals and sea depths heightens the drama of water’s collision with land.
The insets of the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers are the first separate, detailed recordings of them in print. Surprisingly, given the period, Long Island is curiously misshapen. Some states of the chart name Shelter Island; others do not. Nieuw Netherland continues to claim the coastline to Cape Cod, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Most surviving sea charts remained safe in atlases back home in libraries and offices or as separate issues which escaped the captain’s clutches. Some issues of Van Keulen’s chart are even decorated with actual gold, surely a sign of their value for leaders controlling the seas and for merchants assuring their prosperity.
Van Keulen and his firm dominated Dutch chart making for over a century.