Septentrionalia America a Groenlania, per Freta Davidis et Hudsonad Terraram Novam.
This beautiful sea chart of the North Atlantic depicting parts of Hudson’s Bay, Greenland and Newfoundland and Labrador was published Frederik De Wit’s Orbis maritimus of te Zeeatlas, circa 1680 and was itself based on Jan Van Loon’s chart of 1666.
The chart depicts an area that was of great interest to explorers looking for the Northwest passage as well as charting an area where the Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in 1670, began to exploit commercially.
Of particular interest is the incorrect drawing of Forbisher’s Strait that continued to appear in maps of the era. This resulted from the erroneous rendering of Martin Forbisher’s expeditions between 1576-78, so as to suppress the location of Meta Incognita and the possible entry to the Northwest passage. The mistaken strait, located in the Southern part of GroenLandia, would eventually be corrected following Charles Francis Hall’s exploration to the region in 1861.
Two wonderful allegorical cartouches embellish the chart. The Latin cartouche has Mercury, the god of commerce and trade besides a globe on its right and another goddess holding a staff to the left. The Dutch, on the other hand, has cartouche with a scene of commerce between European and Indigenous traders.
Many of Dewit’s plates of his important charts including this one, would eventually be sold at auction following his death in 1710. As such, this chart would eventually be re-issued in Louis Renard’s Atlas de la navigation et du commerce, in 1715.
(Sources: Kershaw 209, Burden 466, BLR item#34503, Martayan Lan, Cartography During and after Voyages, Canadian Museum of History)