1647 H. Hondius & J. Janssonius - America Septentrionalis [California as an island]

Seminal 1647 map of North America with California as an island


America Septentrionalis

Map maker:

Henricus Hondius & Jan Janssonius

Place and Year:

Amsterdam, 1647


46.8 x 55.5 cm (18½ x 21¾ in)


Copperplate engraving


Original hand color

Condition Rating:


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Captivating map of North America, with California an island, the continent inhabited by numerous vignettes of animals, sailing ships and a few monsters in the oceans.

Burden states that it had a "greater influence than any other to date in perpetuating the theory of California as an island. This was because it was disseminated through the medium of [Hondius'] powerful Dutch publishing house. None of the earlier California as an island maps had reached such a wide audience... Cartographically the map is a careful composition of many different sources and illustrates well the current state of knowledge. The depiction and nomenclature of the west, along with that of the insular California, derive directly from Henry Briggs' The North Part of America, 1635. A legend placed strategically over the north-west coastline offers the opportunity to discontinue a coastline least understood. An unnamed lake still feeds a Rio del Norto flowing incorrectly south-west into what should be the headwaters of the Gulf of California. On the east bank of this river is Real de Nueua Mexico, or Santa Fe…”

This is the second state of the map, the 1647 issue, with imprint of Jan Janssonius in the cartouche at lower left, French text on verso, and signature mark Bbb on the verso.


Tiny pinholes at corners affecting margins only; near fine to fine, coloring bright, a lovely copy.




Burden 245; Koeman Vol. II, p.397, no. 486; Leighly 13; McLaughlin 6; Tooley p.113; Wheat Transmississippi 45; Wa-NWC 339.