A New, Plaine, and Exact Map of America Described by NI Visscher, and Don into English... Blaeu
Walton, Robert, 1660
Image Quality: High
Robert Walton and the Island of California
Not much has been written about the mapmaker Robert Walton. He was born in 1618 in Welford, England. His father, William Walton, was a yeoman farmer. In 1632 he was apprenticed to John Costard of Lothburg for nine years until he was freed from his apprenticeship at the age of twenty-three. He set himself up in London as a printer, map seller, and publisher, near Saint Paul's. Walton died in 1688 but was active in his business from 1647 to 1686. He was one of the first publishers to produce sheet maps depicting the road system in England and Wales, before Brittania published by Ogilby.
This particular map of the Americas is notable for its depiction of California. During this time there was considerable debate over whether California was an island or a peninsula. This map represents an intermediate compromising position in the controversy. California is shown as an island (as in mapmakers like Sanson) but the coast continues northwest (as in Mercator). The island itself is named California, and New Albion is located on the northern shore. This map is considered to be one in a series comprising maps by Kaerius, Visscher, De Wit, and Overton.
In addition, the map also has many decorative qualities to it. Like other maps of teh time period, depictions of ships and canoes can be found in the waters. On land there are numerous animals representing native fauna of the Americas. There are still some fantastic looking sea creatures swimming in the waters as well.
Bordering the map are various city views and portraits. There are depictions of "Brasilians", "Magellanics" and "Virginians" showing the various native peoples inhabiting the Americas. Some of the European portraits include important discoverers such as Christopher Columbus ("Discoverer of the New World"), Ferdinand Magellan, and Amerigo Vespucci. Some of the city views include Havanna, Mexico City, Cartagena, and Pomeiooc, a city in Virginia. Like so many other maps, this map represents both prevailing world views and a little imagination.
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