Leiden: Elzevier, 1633. ,690,[i.e. 590],pp. plus fourteen double-page maps by Hessel Gerritsz. Sixty-eight woodcuts in text, illustrating plants, animals, and inhabitants of the New World. Half title. Engraved title with elaborate emblematic and architectonic border, with date altered in manuscript to "1688." Folio. Contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt, raised bands, textblock edges stained red. Spine ends repaired, moderate edge wear, joints a bit worn. Some foxing and toning, occasional tanning, small unobtrusive marginal repair to most maps. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM54777
The first Latin edition of "arguably the finest description of the Americas published in the seventeenth century" - Burden. The maps include the first to use the names Manhattan, New Amsterdam (for New York), and Massachusetts, and one of the foundational maps of Canada. This work is one of the most important 17th-century New World histories. It is a cornucopia of early knowledge of the Americas and was compiled by Joannes de Laet, a director of the newly formed Dutch West India Company, with access to all the latest geographic knowledge. Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, writing in the 18th century, noted that the work as a whole "is full of the most excellent and curious details of the natural history, and the character, manners, and customs of the American aborigines, derived from the reports of the European mission establishments in America." The text includes various specimens of indigenous language vocabularies, including Huron, Nahuatl, Quechua, Tupi, and Arawak. "One of the most famous contemporary descriptions of the natural history of the New World. The work was highly praised a century later by Charlevoix, attesting to its accuracy.... Winsor referred to Laet's book as the standard seventeenth-century work on New Netherland" - Streeter. The present first edition in Latin was preceded by two editions in Dutch (the first of which was published in 1625). De Laet continued to add to and improve the work throughout his lifetime: the present edition contains fourteen maps as opposed to the ten in the 1625 edition, and the text has been considerably expanded. The maps are by Hessel Gerritsz and are some of the very best to appear up to that time. Gerritsz had trained under Willem Blaeu, but had been chosen in preference to his old master when the appointment of cartographer to the Dutch West India Company was made. The charming in-text illustrations are chiefly of biological or botanical specimens and are generally surprisingly accurate for their time, and each of the eighteen constituent books is turned over to the consideration of a different region of the New World. The quality of the maps can be gauged from the fact that they served as a prototype for the mapping of America, with a number of them being reused in various later 17th-century atlases. The maps are titled as follows: 1) "Americae sive Indiae occidentalis tabula generalis." Burden 229: "The best west coast delineation to date." 2) "Maiores minoresque insulae. Hispaniola, Cuba, Lucaiae et Caribes" 3) "Nova Francia et regiones adiacentes." Burden 230: "One of the foundation maps of Canada." 4) "Nova Anglia, Novum Belgium et Virginia." Burden 231: "The first [map] to use the names Manhattan and N. Amsterdam. It is also the earliest to use...Massachusets [sic]." CUMMING 35. SCHWARTZ & EHRENBERG, p.105. 5) "Florida. et regiones vicinae." Burden 232: "Its influence was quite considerable." CUMMING 34. 6) "Nova Hispania, Nova Gallicia, Guatamala." Burden 215: "The delineation of the coastlines here was the most accurate to date." 7) "Tierra Firma item Nuevo Reyno de Granada atque Popayan" 8) "Peru" 9) "Chili" 10) "Provinciae sitae ad fretum Magellanis itemque fretum Le Maire" 11) "Paraguay, o prov. de rio de la Plata: cum adiacentibus Provinciis, quas vocant Tucuman, et Sta. Cruz de la Sierra" 12) "Provinciua de Brasil cum adiacentibus provinciis" 13) "Guaiania sive provinciae intra rio de las Amazonas atque rio de Yviapari sive Orinoque" 14) "Venezuela, atque occidentalis pars Novae Andalusiae" The Streeter copy sold to Nico Israel for $550 in 1966. It was later bought by an American collector, from whom the Reese Company acquired it in 1990. It is now at the Virginia Historical Society. BORBA DE MORAES, p.451. SABIN 38557. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 633/65. STREETER SALE 37. STREIT II:1619. JCB (3)II:246. TIELE 628. BELL L33. VAIL 84. RODRIGUES 1352. ASHER 3. WILLEMS 382. ALDEN II:337. BRUNET III:741. BEINECKE, LESSER ANTILLES COLLECTION 31.