Mexico - Central America by J. de Laet.
Nova Hispania, Nova Galicia, Guatimala., 1630.
Old map of Mexico - Central America by J. de Laet.
Cartographer: Hessel Gerritsz
Date of the first edition: 1625
Date of this map: 1630
Size (not including margins): 28 x 36cm (10.9 x 14 inches)
Condition Rating: A+
References: Burden, 215.
From: Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien. Leiden, 1630.
Considerable effort went into making the text and maps of this work the most accurate available at the time. It is arguably the finest description of the Americas published in the seventeenth century. The exhaustive research involved de Laet reading all of the published and manuscript material that he could find. For the cartographic work he had much to call on, being a director of the recently formed Dutch West India Company in charge of all Dutch interests in America and Africa. He therefore had access to the latest geographic knowledge. He also drew upon the fine talents of Hessel Gerritsz, the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company since 1617. This was a post he attained before Willem Blaeu under whom he was apprenticed, and who was his senior by ten years.
The maps were some of the first to depart from the heavier style of the Mercator and Ortelius period. This more open style of engraving was one that both Blaeu and Janssonius would develop in their atlases. The first edition of the book in 1625 contained ten maps which concentrated on South America. Since then the Dutch had taken considerable interest in New Amsterdam (New York), and the work was expanded by some 100 pages and four newly engraved maps.
Although many maps had been produced of New Spain, few extended north into the area of present day Texas. The Rio Grande is here still named the R. de Palmas. The B. del Spiritu Santopossibly represents the Mississippi River. Some authorities have questioned this usual assumption. On the west coast of Florida we find the landing place of Juan Ponce de León. The delineation of the coastlines, particularly of the Gulf of Mexico and the north-west coast of Mexico, was the most accurate to date. (Burden)