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"A Map of Great Influence" (Tooley) In a Fine Example

California/ Southwest. SANSON, N. [Paris, 1656]
Le Nouveau Mexique, et La Floride:... . 12 ¼ x 21 3/8 inches.
Original outline color; fine condition with wide margins.

   $7,500


The first state of the first edition in a superb example. "An important map, the first in a printed atlas to put the greatest emphasis on California and New Mexico” (Tooley).
“A map of great influence, [Sanson’s map] became the model for the delineation of California for the next fifty years" (Tooley). Sanson's distinctive shape of the island is marked by indentations along the northern coast. Place names in the California area are given in their original Spanish as opposed to the French translations found on Sanson's 1650 map of North America.
The map was also one of the earliest to show the Spanish settlements of the Southwest, such as Sante Fe, and also the mythical cities, such as Cibola, the search for which motivated early Spanish exploration deep into the Southwest, Coronado’s in particular. As with any area that is shown prior to extensive European colonization, the Southwest is dominated by the names of Indian tribes, many of which would soon be extinct. The aspect of the map that perhaps most dramatically shows how much of the Southwest had yet to be geographically understood is that the Rocky Mountains are shown far to the east of their actual location, and in fact they link with a westward offshoot of the Appalachian Mountain range.
A particularly egregious example of wishful political cartography can be seen in the map's claim of a sizable portion of the Southeast for France ("Floride E. Francois"). The only possible basis for this would have been the Laudonniere and Ribaut settlements, which had expired nearly a full century before this map appeared.

Burden 319, state 1; McLaughlin 16, state 1; Tooley, Mapping of America, no.14, p.115; Leighly no.27; Wheat no.50; Goss no.34; Schwartz/ Ehrenberg, p.121.

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