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A Rare Appendix Edition of Smith’s Virginia

Virginia/ Chesapeake Bay. SMITH, CAPT. J./ HONDIUS, H. [Amsterdam, 1630]
Nova Virginiae Tabula. 15 x 19 ¼ inches.
Fine hand color; fine condition with a bold strike.


Hondius’ beautiful, enlarged, engraving of Capt. John Smith's map of the Chesapeake Bay and region, in an unrecorded edition without verso text, suggesting an early, “Appendix” printing or a separate issue for insertion into an existing atlas. This anomaly has the happy result that the white areas of the map are without the text show-through that must otherwise be tolerated in examples of this map.

The first printed map of Virginia, Smith's work was remarkably accurate for its period. It was based on surveys personally commanded by him. Not only is it a valuable record of early Indian tribes, but it was also one of the few early maps of America to acknowledge the role of Indian informants in its creation. The several Maltese Crosses on the work indicate areas beyond which the geography was based on Indian reports rather than on direct observation. The verso text describes Virginia’s native peoples, their manner of settlement, and religious beliefs, but also the region’s. Also found on the engraving is a portrait of Powhatan in the upper left. Hondius’s edition is the only one on which the Native American figure in the right is facing toward the Chesapeake Bay.

Burden 228; Tooley, America, p. 165.

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