Venezuela, atque Occidentalis Pars Novae Andalusiae
LAET, Johannes de

Venezuela, atque Occidentalis Pars Novae Andalusiae

Size : 36 x 28 cm
Color : Hand Colored
Condition : A+
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 624-12

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De Laet's highly decorative map of Venezuela and the Caribbean.

This beautiful map is the result of a collaboration between Hessel Gerritsz, official cartographer of the Dutch East India Company, and Johannes de Laet, director of the newly formed Dutch West India Company. Their maps of South America served as a basis for many other cartographers.

De Laet's work

Considerable effort went into making the text and maps of this work the most accurate and available at the time. This is arguably the finest description of the Americas published in the seventeenth century. The exhaustive research involved de Laet reading all of the published and manuscript material that he could find. For the cartographic work he had much to call on, being a director of the recently formed Dutch West India Company in charge of all Dutch interests in America and Africa. He therefore had access to the latest geographic knowledge. He also drew upon the fine talents of Hessel Gerritsz, the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company since 1617. This was a post he attained before Willem Blaeu under whom he was apprenticed, and who was his senior by ten years.

The maps were some of the first to depart from the heavier style of the Mercator and Ortelius period. This more open style of engraving was one that both Blaeu and Janssonus would develop in their atlases. The first edition of the book in 1625 contained ten maps which concentrated on South America. Since then the Dutch had taken considerable interest in New Amsterdam (New York), and the work was expanded by some 100 pages and four newly engraved maps.

The first of these additional maps was a general one of the continent. Its most interesting feature is that although we know de Laet had seen maps of California as an island, he relies on the more trustworthy accounts, such as Herrera, in depicting a peninsular form. The map has the best west coast delineation to date. He also does not get drawn into the debate about the North West Passage, preferring to cut his map short of these latitudes.

LAET, Johannes de