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The Earliest Full-Size Map of Bermuda

Bermuda. SPEED, J. [London, 1626/ 1676]
A Mapp of the Sommer Ilands once called the Bermudas. 15 ¾ x 21 inches
Fine hand color; light toning along centerfold, also reinforced in upper area of fold, overall very good condition.

   $3,500


An attractive example of the first true map of Bermuda, and the one that would be copied by countless others throughout the 17th century. Originally compiled by Norwood in 1622, the map identifies both the names of the original landholders and delineates the lots they owned. Land parcels were divided into narrow swaths to afford each property access to water on two sides. Both the front and back of the engraving feature rich descriptions of the island in English.
This engraving actually includes two maps of the island depicted at different scales. The foreground is dominated by the main map of Bermuda, but nestled in the curve of the island is a separate, smaller depiction of the island for the purpose of showing its position and size relative to the American mainland. This design was strictly adhered to in the Blaeu and Hondius editions of the map, but proved confusing to some later copiers, who dispensed with the mainland in their renditions while mistakenly retaining the smaller “Bermuda” as a small island off the coast of Bermuda.


Palmer, pp.25-6.

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