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Cette Carte de Californie..: de Fer, 1705

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  • Title: Cette Carte de Californie et Du Nouveau Mexique
  • Author: Nicolas de Fer
  • Date: 1705
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very good, sharp impression on almost spotless paper
  • Inches: 15 1/2 x 10 3/4 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 39.37 x 27.31 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 308062

Attractive and seldom seen second state of Nicolas de Fer's map of the Island of California with a date of 1705. The present example is one of very few specific maps of the area to feature the island in detail and is also notably the first map to present the some of the findings of Father Eusebio Kino, notated during his expeditions into present day Northern Mexico and the American Southwest.

Occupying the majority of what is now Texas and the Plains States appears a list of over 300 names that designate places in the area of New Mexico. The names include Taos, El Paso, Santa Fe, and many New Mexican pueblos and haciendas. More than 20 place names appear for the first time in this list as they were documented by Kino to show the most up to date information regarding the geography and settlements of the area.

On the western edge of the mainland in the north appears a toponym that reads Gran Quivira. This is in reference to a well-known cartographic myth from the early modern period. Quivira is the name for the Seven Cities of Gold so famously sought by Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. In 1540 Coronado and his party set out across what is now Arizona and New Mexico in search of the fabled riches, eventually finding his way to present day Kansas. Instead of vast cities of immense wealth, Coronado found thatched roof houses in villages cultivating rice, beans, and other staple food crops. The expedition a failure, he returned to New Mexico with his expeditionary force in 1542 before leaving for Mexico City where he would die of disease in 1554.

In the lower left-hand portion of the map sits the title and the only indicator of difference between the first and second state, the date. It also mentions a Spaniard who sent a version of the map to the French Academie Royale des Sciences, and it is from that example that de Fer produced the one at present.