Manhattan is an Island
For collectors of maps, cartography, and the early history of New Amsterdam or New York, this map is well worth owning. This map is generally regarded as important in the history of North American maps. It depicts the eastern seaboard from Virginia to Quebec, including New York, Long Island, New England, and Cape Cod. It is distinguished as being one of the earliest representations of this area. Furthermore, it is the first map to use recognizable names for this area.
Created by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, a Dutch cartographer, it was first published in 1635, in Amsterdam, and had 12 subsequent editions. Oriented to the west, Blaeu based the map on information from Adrien Block, a Dutch explorer, and fur trader. Adrien Block sailed around Long Island in 1613/14.
This map is celebrated as the earliest representation of Manhattan as an island. Of special interest in this early depiction of New Amsterdam is the first use of names still used. The most interesting of these are “Manhates” Manhattan, “Hellegat” Hell Gate, and “Adrian Blocks Eylandt” Block Island.
Wildlife in a Map
Another wonderful detail is the depiction of North American wildlife and the naming of various Indian tribes such as “Maques” Mohawks, and “Mahicans” Mohegans. One of map collector’s favorite parts of this map? It boasts the first ever printed illustration of beavers and polecats on a map.