HONDIUS, Henricus (1597-1651)
Nova Virginiae Tabula
Amsterdam: Henricus Hondius, [No date but 1633]. Hand-colored copper-engraved map, French text on verso. Image area: 15 3/4 x 20 1/4 inches. Very good. Later coloring. Matted and framed in a passe-partout fashion.
A classic, early cartographic representation of Virginia: Hondius's version of John Smith's important map.
This is the fifth of the many derivatives of Captain John Smith's map of Virginia, the earliest true map of the first permanent English colony in America. This map stays close in content to the Hondius-Blaeu map of 1629, which was in turn based on the first state of the Smith map. The early Dutch versions of the map were the primary disseminators of information on Virginia throughout the European continent until the closing decades of the seventeenth century. The map is beautifully ornamented with the Royal Arms of Britain (colonial rulers of Virginia) , a standing figure of an Indian, and an inset vignette of "King Powhatan," the father of Pocahantas, sitting in state in his lodge. Powhatan was the powerful ruler of about thirty Algonquian tribes in the region, the strongest single group of Indians on the Atlantic coast. He is said to have had forty bodyguards and 100 wives. His rulership consisted of his providing military leadership and protection in exchange for tribute from the individual tribes. The ceremony at which Captain John Smith thought he was saved by Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas was apparently a ritual in which Smith agreed on behalf of his tribe, the whites, to submit to Powhatan's leadership. Smith, of course, completely misunderstood the event. This copy of the map, with ca. 1644 French text on verso from the "Nouvel Atlas" printed between 1644 and 1658, is an early issue of Burden's first state. Henricus Hondius was the son of the engraver and mapmaker Jodocus Hondius. Henricus continued the family's cartographical business in partnership with Jan Jansson, his brother-in-law. Mapmaking was more often than not a family enterprise in Amsterdam and in Paris in the 17th century. The firm was active under one family member or another for nearly the entire 17th century. This was the period of Dutch supremacy at sea, when, having supplanted the Portuguese in India, central Africa and northeastern Brazil, the Dutch were the prime carriers of spices, silks, furs, tobacco, sugar and slaves. It was not in the nature of things that this predominance could last very long, if only because the Netherlands is a very small country. But until the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 1660s and 70s, the Dutch were supreme, and the making of maps was a form of nationalistic journalism.