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Nova Virginiæ Tabula: Blaeu 1665

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  • Title: Nova Virginiæ Tabula
  • Author: Blaeu
  • Date: 1665
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good - few areas of uneven toning, issued center fold
  • Inches: 19 x 15 1/4 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 48.3 x 38.7 [Image]
  • Product ID: 222005

Hand-colored copperplate engraving depicting present-day Virginia, Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay. Contains an inset in the upper left corner titled Status Regis Powhatan quando prefectus Smith Captivus illi daretur [The Status of King Powhatan when governor Smith was given to him as prisoner]. The inset depicts the Algonquin chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas. To the right appears a legend explaining the symbols used for Domus Regum [House of a King], Ordinariæ Domus [Ordinary House], and Lucubrationes Anglorum [Labors of the English]. Next to it, Blaeu includes the British coat of arms, indicating Britain's claim on the territory. Below the legend stands a Native man with a bow and club, seemingly representing a typical inhabitant of the region. A compass rose and marginal labels indicate that North correlates to the map's right-hand margin. 

Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu (1571-1638), and later his heirs, dominated the world cartographic landscape for much of the seventeenth century. Blaeu studied under Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, one of the major figures in the history of modern astronomy. After returning to the Low Countries from Denmark in the late 1590s, Blaeu set up shop as a cartographer and globe maker. He produced numerous atlases, and in 1633 became the official mapmaker of the Dutch East India Company, the megacorporation which, thanks to Dutch naval prowess, controlled the seventeenth-century global economy. Numerous depictions of Blaeu maps appear in the work of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Blaeu's sons, cartographers Cornelis and Joan (or Johannes) Blaeu, took over the family business after their father's death.