Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Art Of Maps Nicholas Sanson Amerique Septentrionale par Sanson d Abbeville Geog du Roy 1650

Amerique Septentrionale par N. Sanson d'Abbeville Geog. du Roy 1650

Map Maker: Nicholas Sanson
Hand Colored
Size: 21.5 x 15.25 inches

Fine example of the first obtainable state of Sanson's landmark map of North America.

Sanson's map the first map to depict the Great Lakes in a recognizable form, and the first to name Lake Ontario and Lake Superior. In  Sanson drew on information derived from The Jesuit Relations, published in Paris in 1649, which provided contemporary accounts of many regions of North America visited by French missionaries.  His sources included Father Paul Ragueneau's account of his visit to Niagara Falls and Jean Nicollet's discovery of Lake Michigan in 1634.  Montreal is named, having been founded by the Sieur de Maisonneuve in 1642.

In the Southwest, Sanson draws up the reports of the travels in New Mexico of Father Alonso Benavides Memorial, published in Madrid in 1630. It is the first printed map to label "S[anta] Fe" (incorrectly shown  the Rio Grande) and the "Apache," Navajo" and the "Taosij" (Taos) Indian regions. California is shown as a large island, based largely on Johannes de Laet's map of 1630. The region in the north called "Conibas" represents a mythical land between North America and Asia.  The area delineated as "Mer Glaciale" is a reference to the Northwest Passage. On the east coast "N[ouvelle] Amsterdam"  appears (New York), as does the first appearance on a printed map of  "N[ouvelle] Suede," the Swedish colony centered on Fort Christina, founded on the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware in 1638.

This is the second state of the map.  The first, known in only 2 examples (Burden), includes a number of place names north of California (Anian, Quivira, Nouvelle Albion, Conibas) which do not appear on later editions.  The second state can be distinguished from the third state by the treatment of Lake Ontario. In the second state, Lake Ontario is not shaded in like the other Great Lakes and looks like a series of Rivers.  In the third state, it is shaded like Lake Ontario.

Sanson is regarded as the founder of the 'French School' of cartography. His map of North America was the most advanced depiction of the continent in the mid-17th Century and was the source map for most subsequent maps for the next 40 years.Sanson was the first to employ a sinusoidal projection, which was also adopted by John Flamsteed, the first Royal Astronomer appointed by the King of England.  

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