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2007 Catalog > 6. Sanson, Le Nouveau Mexique et La Floride


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Sanson’s Landmark Map of Insular California and the Southwest

6. Nicholas Sanson d’Abbeville. “Le Nouveau Mexique et La Floride: Tirees de diverses Cartes, et Relations” (Paris: Chez Pierre Mariette, 1656). First state with the imprint Chez Pierre Mariette, Rue S. Iaque . . . 1656. Copperplate engraving with fine original hand color. 12 1/4 x 21 1/2" at neat line. Sheet size: 15 x 22 1/4" with full margins. A few faint spots and very minor toning. Overall a superb example with fine original hand color.

Price: SOLD.

Nicholas Sanson’s Map of New Mexico and Florida has a multitude of fascinating features to recommend it. It is significant in the history of cartography as the first large-scale map in a printed atlas to depict the Spanish territories from Florida to California. Martin and Martin note that “it served as a prototype for the delineation of California as an island, and contributed a number of new place names in the New Mexico region. . . . It has served as a summary of the best information available for the greater Texas region during the middle of the seventeenth century,” which, in essence, was very little.

Sanson’s California prototype would influence mapmakers for the next 50 years, the new shape of which is most recognizable by two bays along California’s northern coast. Sanson further introduces new Indian tribes in New Mexico and along the Rio Grande, here shown mistakenly flowing southwest. “Floride Francois” is used for the first time to designate French possessions in Georgia and South Carolina. An outstanding example of this cornerstone document, the present map is the first—or 1656—state, identifiable by the Pierre Mariette imprint.

Refs.: Burden, Mapping of North America, no. 319, illus.; Cumming, The Southwest in Early Maps, no. 49; Leighly, California as an Island, no. 27; McLaughlin and Mayo, California as an Island, no. 17, illus.; Martin and Martin, plate 10, illus.; Tooley, California as an Island (Map Collectors’ Circle No. 8), no. 14, plate VI; Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast, p. 128, no. 374; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. I, pp. 39–40, no. 50.

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