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North America: Schenk 1708

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  • Title: North America
  • Author: Pieter Schenk
  • Date: 1708
  • Medium: Hand-Colored Copperplate Engraving
  • Condition: Very Good Plus
  • Inches: 23.25 x 18 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 59.7 x 45.7 [Image]
  • Product ID: 224030

Schenk's version of De l'Isle's foundation map of North America with bright original color.

Nearly identical to the De l'Isle map, with California returned to its peninsular shape rather than an island. C. Mendocin is the farthest northern point in California, beyond which no conjectural geographical detail is presented. In the Southwest, a mountain-ringed valley named Valle de los Corozones appears, based on the early reports of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca. The Great Lakes are well-defined, based on Coronelli with French forts noted. The English settlements are confined east of the Alleghenies and several French forts and settlements are depicted in the Mississippi River valley. Several explorations are traced in the Pacific and the Sargasso Sea is prominently shown in the North Atlantic. The map is decorated with an aquatic-themed figural cartouche and a draped scale of miles.

De l'Isle's map of North America is a widely celebrated cartographic landmark. Most notably, De l'Isle's map was the first map to revert to the treatment of California as a peninsula, based upon reports received from Fra. Eusebio Kino. Tooley referred to the map as "a foundation map... and the first to revert to a peninsular form of California" (Tooley, "French Mapping of the Americas" in The Mapping of America , p. 19). Because of De l'Isle's access to the information from French explorers in the New World at a time when the French dominated the explorations of the interior of the continent, De l'Isle's maps were invariably updated and innovative in their content. De l'Isle's work was important in marking a transition from the maps of the Dutch school, which were highly decorative and artistically-orientated, to a more scientific approach.