Terra Nova ac Maris Tractus circa Novam Franciam, Angliam, Belgium, Venezuelam, Novam Andalusiam, Guianam, et Brasiliam
Frederick De Wit, Published 1675Image Size: 22" x 19"
Condition: Very Good. Colored.
This wonderful sea chart is a rare 2nd state depicting the trade route from the Azores and Cape Verde to the coasts of North and South America including the Carribean. This rare map first appeared in De Wit’s Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee Atlas, published circa 1675 and had a total 27 sea charts most likely engraved by the renown Romein de Hooghe. This chart has its provenance from Theunis Jacobsz famous sea chart Pascaerte van Carybes, Nieu Neder landt, Brazil… published circa 1650.
Of interest with De Wit’s chart of the trade route is the portrayal of a naval battle scene occurring near the North American North East. As such, De Wit may have been depicting the current state of war that existed between France and the Dutch Republic in what is commonly known as the Franco-Dutch War of 1672-1678, or to the Third Anglo-Dutch War of 1672-1674 in which England briefly became a French ally against the Netherlands. Although much of the fighting occurred on the European continent, the Dutch Republic did seize their former colony of New Amsterdam, now known as New York, from the English and renamed it New Orange in 1673. The Dutch were also able to seize the french colony of Acadia in 1674 with the capture of Fort Pentagouet located in present day Castine Maine, renaming it New Holland. However, New York, following the Treaty of Westminster, would revert back to England in exchange for the recognition of Dutch Guiana (Suriname) in November 1674. The legal title of the french colony of Acadia would, for its part, revert back to France with the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678.
That being said, the naval battle scene is balanced with the presence of a single ship near the centre of the chart most likely on route to one of the new world colonies to trade.
De Wit also graces the chart with two beautiful cartouches; one in Latin and the other in Dutch. The cartouches can be viewed as allegorical with the Latin cartouche depicting a native american sitting on an alligator offering gold to Mercury, the Roman god of commerce and trade, whilst Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, is examining a chart beside a sea monster. The Dutch cartouche, on the other hand, depicts a scene with a llama heavily laden with trade goods surrounded by native americans, and european soldiers and traders.
Many of De Wit’s plates, including the present chart, were sold at auction after his death. As such, this explains why this chart was eventually re-issued by Louis Renard in 1715 and by the Ottens in 1739 and again 1745.
(Sources: Burden#467, Maratanlan item#, BLR item#)