Jacques Le Moyne: Floridae Americae Provinciae Recens & exactissima descriptio Auctore Iacobo le Moyne cui cognomen de Morgues, Qui Laudonnierum. Theodore de Bry, Frankfurt, 1591.
Slight shaving to left margin as visible in image, else excellent.
A fine example of landmark map of the Southeast by Le Moyne; in an excellent state of preservation, with fine margins for this map, and uncolored as issued. As the original Le Moyne map has not survived, de Bry’s excellent engraved version is the only surviving rendering of it. Only one state is known.
The following description is from Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps.
This important map includes the peninsula of Florida and the surrounding regions from the northern part of Cuba to “Prom Terra falg” or Cape Lookout. It is found in the second volume of de Bry’s Grands Voyages.
The author, Jacques le Moyne, was an artist who accompanied Laudonniere on his ill-fated trip to Florida in 1564. He made many graphic drawings of native scenes, a map of the region, and an accompanying narrative. De Bry saw Le Moyne in London in 1587 and attempted to obtain the drawings and papers. But Le Moyne, who was at the time in Raleigh’s service, refused to part with them; soon after his death in 1588, however, de Bry purchased them of his widow and published them in 1591. The manuscript map is not extant, but it was in all probability used by John White in making the southern part of his “La Virgenia Pars”.
The map contains many striking details, frequently erroneous, which were incorporated in other maps for over a hundred and fifty years. It was Le Moyne’s misfortune to have many of his errors incorporated and even exaggerated in Mercator’s map of 1606, upon which for half a century much of the subsequent cartography of the region was based. Le Moyne’s coastline is usually correct for latitude, but the shore extends too far east rather than northeast in direction. This caused a striking error in Mercator’s map, with a compensating enlargement of the Virginia region; the mistake was corrected somewhat by Jansson 1641 and those who followed him.
Along the top of the map, to the north, extends the shore of a sea, probably Verrazano’s Sea. It is unnamed and has no channel connecting it to the Atlantic. A similar body of water is found in Lescarbot 1611 and Seller 1679.
Along the coast are Latin names for rivers and bays, such as Gironda, Garumna, and Charenta, together with a few of the earlier Spanish names. The identification of the rivers has been attempted several times but it is doubtful whether Le Moyne had definite knowledge of the number of rivers along the coast himself. The names were given on the first voyage under Ribaut, who in his account makes some reference to their latitude and appearance. They were eventually superseded by others when the seventeenth century English settlers arrived; probably the only permanent coastal name first found on Le Moyne’s map is “Portus Regalis” of Port Royal.
His placement of Charlefort on an island at Port Royal and Carolina (the fort “la Carolina”) on the River May are helpful identifications. But the name “Carolina” copied by a later mapmaker, and put by Sanson 1656 much farther north, was probably the original source of the later false belief of mapmakers (Delisle 1718, Covens and Mortier ca.1730) and even nineteenth century historians that the whole country was named Carolina by the French.
Le Moyne has several lakes which played a conspicuous part in the later cartography of the Southeast. In the peninsula of Florida is a lake with an island called “Sarrop,” which probably represents Lake Okeechobee or one of the lakes in that region. North of Sarrop is a larger lake which may be intended to represent Lake George and which through later mutations of location and size became the great inland lake of the Southeast. Le Moyne locates it slightly southeast of the mouth of “May”(St. Johns River) into which it flows. He calls it “Lacus aquae dulcis”(fresh water lake) and says that it is so large that from one bank it is impossible to see the other side. To the north of the lake, among the “montes Apalatci” (Appalachan Mountains) is another large lake, fed by an enormous waterfall. This waterfall may have been inspired by tales of waterfalls in western North Carolina; but it is more likely to depict the legends heard from Indians of the great falls of Niagara. Below this lake is written “In hoc lacu Indigenae argenti grana inveniunt” (In this lake the natives find grains of silver).