Nova Francia et Canada.
CORNELIS VAN WYTFLIET
An important rare map that has been described as;
“almost totally derived from the Mercator world map, and thus, from the collectors point of view, represents the only available printed Mercator derivative. Perhaps even more relevant to the collector is the fact that this map is one of the first available that uses the word ‘Canada’.” (Kershaw)
The map is also important as it offers a crude drawing of the inland river system that includes the Saguenai near the Native American village of Hochelaga, the site of present day Montreal. This region had recently been discovered by Jacques Cartier in his travels to North America between 1535 and 1542. As such, the map provides a good representation of the St-Lawrence region prior to the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1604.
Also of note is the manner by which Newfoundland is depicted. Terra de Bacallaos, or Land of Cod, is seen here as a series of islands. This depiction is derived from Mercator rather than Plancius' more recognizable depiction of a single island published in 1594 with his Nova Francia, alio nominee dicta Ter/ra nova…
Also of interest, is the location of Cap de S Iean (Prince Edward Island), on the mainland opposite an island near Terra de Bacallaos. The location of Cap de S Iean would shift numerous times during the latter part of the 16th Century and early 17th Century as cartographers attempted to reconcile Jacques Cartier’s narrative with new information.
Another interesting aspect of Wytfliet’s map is the depiction of the Golfo de Merofro in the upper Northern region. The Golfo de Merofro and the drawing of a northern river system, could be argued as a crude representation of Ungava Bay that made it’s first appeared on Mercator’s wall map of 1564.
This rare map of Nova Francia et Canada was published in Wytfliet’s Descriptions Ptolemaicae augmentum, siue Occidentis notitia breui commentario,1597. This landmark work has been described as the first atlas specifically dedicated to the Americas. Wytfliet’s Descriptions Ptolemaicae was published as an adjunct to the Ptolemic world view which was, until the discovery of the new world, limited to Asia, Europe and Africa. The current example is the second state which can be differentiated from the first by the omission of the date in the cartouche.
(Sources; Burden 103, Kershaw 36.)