Jan Jansson: America Septentrionalis. Amsterdam, 1636 (State 2, c1641). Excellent. Original color.

An early separate map of North America, commonly known as the work of Jansson because his name appears on the cartouche in states two and subsequent, but actually by Henry Hondius. This work is important for focusing closely on California as an island; California, both in shape and nomenclature, is based on the map of Briggs (1625). It is equally important as an evolutionary work for the mapping of the Great Lakes, shown by Jansson as a large Lac des Iroquois charted at the source of the St. Lawrence, with the vague premonitions of four other lakes appearing near it. American fauna is illustrated in the interior. The elusive Rio del Norte, typically for the day, incorrectly flows southwest into the California Gulf; this error would have to await the close of the century before being fixed.

This map was a fruit of the Hondius/Jansson collaboration in the 1630s to update the Mercator atlas and thus insure its competetive viability with Blaeu. As described by Koeman, “The year 1630 was an eventful year for the publishing houses of both Willem Janszoon Blaeu and the partnership of Henricus Hondius & Joannes Janssonius. In that year, Willem Janszoon Blaeu published his first atlas: the Atlantis Appendix with 60 maps and Joannes Janssonius planned an entirely new atlas, next to the Mercator Atlas. The year before, Jodocus Hondius had died and Blaeu acquired about 40 of his atlas plates. To fill the gap caused by this transaction with their competitor, Henricus Hondius and Joannes Janssonius ordered 36 new plates must have stimulated the plans for an atlas by Willem Jansz. Blaeu, who had hitherto not ventured into an atlas competition with the house of Hondius. In 1630, H. Hondius and J. Janssonius had to make up their mind what to do about the continuation of the Mercator-atlas. It was decided that a) to meet the competition of Blaeu, an Atlantis Appendix should also be brought out immediately; b) an entirely new atlas project should be developed without making use of the Mercator maps; c) a continuation and enlargement of the Mercator-Hondius atlas would be envisaged. An Atlantis Maioris Appendix appeared that same year. A new `experimental’ atlas was published in three parts, in 1631, 1632, and 1636 resp. (The last part too late actually.) In this new project, Janssonius decided to follow the classical composition of the original Mercator Atlas of the years 1584-1595 i.e. first a part Gallia, next a second part Germania and finally a third part Italia. Those are the now very rare and little heard of atlases. Their production was not very successful. The customers kept asking for the good old Mercator atlas, for which enlargement Hondius and Janssonius prepared an Appendix, known as I’appendice to the French edition of 1633. In the same year, new editions of the Atlas appeared with French, German, and Latin text. The House Hondius-Janssonius had overcome the difficult period and kept the lead in atlas production in Amsterdam. This history is rather well-documented by a notary contract and by the survival of a few copies of Janssonius’s and Hondius’s experimental atlases.”