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    De Bry's Map of Colonial Virginia; The First Map to Focus on Virginia Including Chesapeake Bay

    [Map]. Theodore De Bry / John White. Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta : primum ab Anglis inuenta, sumtibus Dn. Walteri Raleigh, Equestris ordinis Viri, Anno Dni. MDLXXXV. [Frankfurt: 1590]. One folio sheet, second state. Approximately 13.5 x 16.5 inches. Engraved map, uncolored. Light soiling, several repaired minor tears along the edge (not examined out of frame). Attractively matted, glazed, and framed (23.75 x 27.75 inches overall).

    The map, engraved by Theodore De Bry, is based on a manuscript description of Virginia by John White. It has been described as one of the most significant cartographic milestones in colonial North American history. Published in De Bry's Anglorum in Virginiam aduentus, it is the most accurate map drawn in the sixteenth century of any part of North America. It is also the first map to focus on Virginia and to record the first English attempts at colonization in the New World.

    Philip D. Burden, in The Mapping of North America, states that the "map concerned depicts the area from Chesapeake Bay to Cape Lookout. It exhibits greater knowledge than on any of the surviving manuscripts. Possibly this is from knowledge gained during White's brief visit in 1587 and signifies some lost manuscripts. Here we find the first printed use of the name Chesapeake, Chesepiooc Sinus, and the second of Roanoke (the first being Mazza). It depicts the positions of the Indian villages in the area and is adorned with the Royal Arms of England. The Latter's ships are shown at sea with Indian canoes traversing the inland waters. The two native scenes shown are taken from illustrations in the book. It influenced many maps, most notably those of de Jode 1593, Wytfliet 1597 and Metellus 1598. There are three states of the map; this is the second one with a 'C' superimposed on the first letter of the village called Ehesepiooc."

    Stephenson & McKee, in Virginia in Maps, adds that the "new geographical information imparted by the White-de Bry engraving swept through Europe and was incorporated into maps by other publishers for at least eighty years. Roanoke Island, neighboring Indian villages, and other features are identified. In addition, the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, Chesepiooc Sinus, is named for the first time on a published map. De Bry oriented White's map to show west at the top rather than north. This became the preferred orientation for published maps of Virginia and other eastern seaboard colonies until the eighteenth century."

    English efforts to colonize the east coast of North America began in 1584 when Roanoke Island was selected for settlement. In April 1585, a colonization expedition was dispatched to the newly named colony of Virginia. A fort was constructed and men set out to explore the area. Among the explorers were a scientist and surveyor Thomas Harriot and an artist John White. White documented the surrounding territory in pictures and with Harriot began preparation of a manuscript map of the areas visited. The Roanoke Colony failed and Sir Francis Drake took home the surviving colonists in June 1586. Another party returned later that summer, leaving fifteen men, none of whom survived. A fourth voyage was made in July 1587 seeking to restore the colony. When White and a relief ship returned to the Roanoke Colony in 1590, it had again been decimated, with no survivors.

    In 1588, Thomas Harriot published A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia in an effort to keep up interest in the settlement. Theodore De Bry, an engraver and editor living in Frankfurt-am-Main, published to work with illustrations based on John White's watercolors. De Bry's edition of Harriot's 1588 account of Virginia was first published in Frankfurt in 1590 and ultimately published in 4 languages.

    Burden p. 76; Stephenson & McKee p. 26 I-2.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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