a She-philosopher.com Gallery Exhibit

**  NOTE: This is the 2nd of five Gallery Exhibits giving modern reproductions of the “Velasco Map” of 1610/11. Links to other exhibits in the 5-part series are located towards the bottom of this page.  **

First Published:  4 September 2014
Revised (substantive):  1 June 2021

Modern reproductions of the “Velasco Map” — Fite & Freeman, 1926

She-philosopher.com Gallery Cat. No. 148

^  Anonymous “Map of North America, 1610” (aka the “Simancas map”). This is Fite & Freeman’s version of Alexander Brown’s tracing of the manuscript map (held by the New York Public Library), as printed in 1926.
     Reproduced as Fig. 30 (p. 108) in A Book of Old Maps, Delineating American History from the Earliest Days Down to the Close of the Revolutionary War, by Emerson D. Fite and Archibald Freeman.
View an enlarged 2287 x 1903 pixel JPG image (1.5 MB)

decorative initial FITE AND FREEMAN remark that their facsimile is “Reproduced, by permission, from the beautiful copy of the original in Iconography of Manhattan Island, by I. N. P. Stokes, frontispiece, volume II.” “This beautiful English manuscript map, in illustration of Henry Hudson’s navigation of the Hudson River, was found in the royal archives of Spain, at Simancas, through the researches of Alexander Brown, and was for the first time published to the world by that scholar in the year 1890 in his Genesis of the United States.” (Fite & Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, 109)

What they don’t anywhere remark on is that they have truncated their reproduction of Stokes’s facsimile. Fite and Freeman reproduce a little over 1/4 of the Simancas Map (the complete lower left corner of the original). The top half of the map (actually, a little less than half) and the right half of the map (again, a little less than half) have been cut from the Fite & Freeman reproduction.

Their complete commentary on the Simancas Map of 1610/11 follows.

Ornament from Capt. John Smith's publications   

[ excerpted from Fite & Freeman,
A Book of Old Maps, pp. 109–11 ]

Anonymous. 1610 (?).
(30¾ x 42¾ inches.)
(General Archives, Department of State, Simancas, Spain.)

Opening quotation markTHIS beautiful English manuscript map, in illustration of Henry Hudson’s navigation of the Hudson River, was found in the royal archives of Spain, at Simancas, through the researches of Alexander Brown, and was for the first time published to the world by that scholar in the year 1890 in his Genesis of the United States. In the same work Brown includes a copy of a deciphered letter of the Spanish ambassador in England, Don Alonso de Velasco, to his master, the King of Spain, dated March 22, 1611, the last sentence of which contains the following words, ‘The King sent last year a surveyor to survey that province, and he returned here about three months ago and presented to him [King James] a plan or map of all that he could discover, a copy of which I send Y. M. Whose Catholic Person, etc.’

 There is nothing to prove that the map which Brown publishes and which is here presented is the purloined map referred to in this letter by the Spanish ambassador, but Brown assumes that the two maps are one and the same, for the apparent reason that he found the map and the letter reposing together in the Spanish archives. The assumption is reasonable, but it is not susceptible of proof.

 Samuel Adams Drake contends that this Simancas map is too good for the state of geographical knowledge existing in 1610, and concludes that it belongs to a later date. Brown is sure of the date which he gives, 1610.

 Brown caused a sketch of the original map to be made, which was later presented to the New York Public Library, where it may now be consulted in the Manuscript Department. I. N. P. Stokes, in his Iconography of Manhattan Island, discusses the map’s probable sources.

 The author shows knowledge of the early place names, which were inscribed on the map of the coast through the preceding English, French and possibly Dutch and Spanish voyages. Whitsuns hed and Whitsons bay, first applied to Cape Cod and its bay by Pring in 1603, are seen; also C. Cod, Marthays Viniard and Elizabethes Ile, first used by Gosnold in 1602; Sagadahock, coined by Weymouth in 1605, and I. St. George, from Popham in 1607.

 Under Names of townes one the Rivers in the Chessepiock Bay are forty-eight references to the new geographical terms already in use in Virginia. These include the Kings River [Smith’s Powhatan], Appamatuck, Powatan, Jeamestown, Tipahanock, and Patawomeck. On the face of the map, too, in North Carolina, are to be seen C. feare, hatarask, and Roanoack; and in the Chesapeake region farther north are C. Henree, C. Charls, Chesepiock Bay, and Sasquasahanock.

 The fact that many of these terms do not agree with those on Smith’s map of the same coast tends to weaken Brown’s contention that Smith’s map is based on this of 1610. On the other hand, the occurrence of Cape Henry and Cape Charles on a map of 1610, and of ‘Cape Henneri’ on that of Robert Tindall in 1608, tends to overthrow Smith’s statement that he is the author of these geographical terms, his compliment to royalty.

 The following incomplete table of New England terms will be of interest:

Cladia [Claudia] Block Island
Elizabethes Ile Elizabeth Islands
Marthays Viniard Martha’s Vineyard
C. Cod Cape Malabar
C. Shole Cape Cod Shoal
Whitsuns hed Cape Cod
Whitsons bay Cape Cod Bay
Peninsale Cape Ann
C. Porpas Cape Porpoise
R. Sagadahock Kennebec River
I. St. George Monhegan Island
S. Georges Banck Saint George’s Bank
I. haute Isle au Haut
R. Pomerogoit Penobscot
Iles de Momtes Deserts Mt. Desert Island

 Brown sums up his opinion as to the sources of the map in the following words: ‘I think that the North Carolina portion embodies the surveys of John White; that the colony of Virginia, where the letter and figure references are used, represents the special work of the surveyor, who Velasco said was sent over by James I; that the coast line from the Chesapeake bay to “Elizabeth’s Ile” was made good by Argall’s water survey in August, 1610; that the Hudson River, up to the Fork, embodies the careful survey thereof made by Hudson in 1609, and that Hudson’s notes may have been used on the draught of portions of the Atlantic coast. From “Elizabeth’s Ile” northward was evidently drawn from painstaking surveys. The portion south of the Penobscot possibly embodies the surveys of Gosnold, Weymouth, and Pring’s “most exact discovery”; while to the north of that river the drawings, or names, of Champlain and other foreigners were apparently used, yet we find at the same time, many names like “Ramea” (visited by George Drake in 1593), which must have been on many English charts prior to 1610.’ [“The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, XLVI, 402. Boston, 1892.” (Fite & Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, 110n6)]

 The fact stands out that in the Simancas map there is a good Virginia and Chesapeake Bay prior to the date of publication of John Smith’s Virginia, if in fact the Simancas map is to be dated 1610. Brown, noting this fact, entertains the view, already quoted, that Smith’s map is not original, but is based by Smith’s engraver on the Simancas map.

 In Brown’s opinion, too, the New England coast of the Simancas map, apparently antedating Smith’s New England, ‘is equally as valuable as Smith’s New England, if not more so, for this region.’

 There is considerable evidence that the Simancas map reflects the results of the third voyage of Henry Hudson. Brown, in his Genesis, and I. N. P. Stokes, in his Iconography of Manhattan Island, take this view. The omission of Long Island and Long Island Sound from the map is indirect evidence that Hudson is followed, because the latter never perceived the existence of either island or sound when entering and leaving the new river. Says Robert Juet, in his account of the voyage on which he himself was present [as recounted in Purchas His Pilgrimes, 4 vols., 1625, 4.XIII]: ‘Within a while after, wee came out also of the great mouth of the great River, that runneth up to the Northwest.... Then we took in our boat, and set our mayne-sayle and sprit-sayle, and our top-sayles, and steered away East Southeast, and Southeast by East off into the mayne sea.’

 Both the new word ‘Manna-hata,’ which Juet in his account applies to the country around New York Bay, and the new river itself, which Hudson explored to the north, appear on the Simancas map, probably the first use of the term and the first accurate representation of the river on any map; and from this the argument is strong that the new map and Juet’s account spring from the same source, of Hudson’s navigation of the river.

 Neither the printed account nor the map make use of geographical terms along the river, another close agreement between the two documents. At the mouth of the river the map has Manahata on the west shore and Manahatin on the east shore. Henry Hudson’s first voyage, in search of the Northeast Passage, led to the coast of Greenland and to the present Spitzbergen in the arctic circle, north of Nova Zembla and Russia, where he made a literal attempt to follow Thorne’s advice to seek China across the North Pole. His second voyage was a hunt for the same goal between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. Both expeditions were under English auspices.

 His third expedition, under the Dutch East India Company, reached Nova Zembla also, but there turned back to the west, to investigate the western coasts of the Atlantic in the hope of reaching the goal of China and the east in that direction. He possessed, said Hudson, ‘letters and charts, which one Captain Smith had sent him from Virginia, by which he (Smith) informed him (Hudson) that there was a sea leading into the western ocean by the north of the southern English colony.’ Hudson must also have been acquainted with Verrazano’s letter, as published by Hakluyt, and with the maps of Mercator, Lok, and others, which follow Verrazano in delineating an opening in the American coast to the west, that must have appeared hopeful to the intrepid mariner. It was the search for the Northwest Passage that took Hudson up the river that now bears his name. [“Brown, Genesis, I, 184, gives Hudson’s statement concerning his indebtedness to John Smith.” (Fite & Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, 110n12)]

 After touching at Cape Cod, on this western end of his third expedition, Hudson sights land at King’s River (King’s River on the Simancas map, ‘Powhatan’ on Smith’s, and ‘King James his River’ on Tindall’s), but does not land. An Englishman in the employ of the Dutch, in command of a crew recruited in part in Holland, he probably did not care to encounter his fellow Englishmen in Virginia. He continues to the south to 35° 41', ‘being farre off at sea from the land’ of North Carolina. He then returns along the coast, but whether or not he enters Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay, Juet does not make plain; probably he only passes by the entrances to these bays.

 Next, on September 3, he reaches a great bay at 40° 30' north latitude, into which flow ‘three great rivers,’ the present Hudson, East River, and the channel between Staten Island and the mainland. On the twelfth he starts up the river, and in two days finds that ‘The River is a mile broad; there is very high land on both sides,’ the Highlands of the Hudson. On the fifteenth, he ‘ran up into the River twentie leagues, passing by high Mountains,’ and on the evening of the same day ‘We came to other Mountains, which lie from the River’s side,’ the Catskill Mountains. At what point he comes to Juet’s ‘an end for shipping to go in’ and turns back, is not plain.

 Emanuel Van Meteren, who did not accompany Hudson, but was Dutch consul in London at the time, in his account of the voyages, speaks as follows:

 ‘Their ship finally sailed up the river as far as 42° 40'. But their boat went higher up.... When they had thus been about fifty leagues up the river, they returned on the fourth of October, and went again to sea.’ [“[J. Franklin] Jameson, Original Narratives of Early American History. [Narratives of] New Netherland, [1909], p. 7.” (Fite & Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, 111n13)]

 The Dutch unit of distance, which has been translated leagues in the above account, was the equivalent of three English miles and a fraction, so that fifty leagues means a distance up the river of something over one hundred and fifty miles, the approximate distance between New York and Albany.Closing quotation mark

go to NEXT exhibit in series (Gallery Exhibit 3 of 5) pointer

Ornament from Capt. John Smith's publications   

She-philosopher.com’s five-part series of
Modern Reproductions of the “Velasco Map” of 1610/11:

» Gallery Exhibit 1 of 5  (as reprod. in Isaac Stokes, 1916)
» Gallery Exhibit 2 of 5  (as reprod. in Fite & Freeman, 1926)
» Gallery Exhibit 3 of 5  (as reprod. in Cumming, Skelton & Quinn, 1971)
» Gallery Exhibit 4 of 5  (as reprod. in Cohen & Augustyn, 1997)
» Gallery Exhibit 5 of 5  (as reprod. in Mark Warhus, 1997)

and see also
the first printing of the “Velasco Map” of 1610/11 (as reprod. in Alexander Brown, 1890).

Reference Links

 a Gallery Exhibit on Robert Tindall’s MS. “Draught of Virginia ... Anno 1608”.

 a Gallery Exhibit on Captain John Smith’s “A Map of Virginia”, pub. in 1612 and 1624.
   In addition, Smith’s map of Virginia was one of She-philosopher.com’s test cases when assessing the new JPEG-2000 graphics format back in 2005. Our technical report includes a detailed comparative analysis of JPEG-2000, JPEG, GIF, and PNG formats, with a tabular summary.

 a hostile biography of Captain John Smith, by the 19th-century historian Alexander Brown — a “lamentable failure” as an historian, according to Philip Barbour (The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, 422n1), largely because of “his personal antagonism to John Smith” — in She-philosopher.com’s IN BRIEF section.
   Brown never bought Smith’s warrior brand: “compiling a romance, with himself as his hero.” (Brown, The Genesis of the United States, 2 vols., 1890, 2.1009)

 a discussion of Captn. John Smith’s captivity narratives in the Gallery Exhibit, The “Zuñiga Chart” of Virginia.

 an IN BRIEF biography of the man whom Captain John Smith called “that learned Mathematician, Master Thomas Hariot,” whose acquaintance Smith made c.1605–6. Hariot not only spoke Algonquian, but had unique access to Indian geographical intelligence ranging all the way to Lake Superior, and he may well have been involved with (and/or consulted on) production of the lost English original traced for the “Velasco Map” of 1610/11 (presuming, of course, that the Spanish copy of the map is not a fake, as has been credibly argued recently). Around this time (1609), Hariot was actively in consultation with the Virginia Company of London, and by 1610/11, had already been engaged in map-making for the Jacobean court.

 more in the ongoing debate over whether or not the “Velasco Map” is a 19th-century forgery: published pieces by David Allen and Kirsten Seaver in the e-journal, Coordinates: The Online Journal of the Map and Geography Round Table of the American Library Association.

 David Allen’s page on the nomenclature (247 names) of the Velasco Map, “Preliminary Analysis of Nomenclature on the Velasco Map of 1610”.

 a digital edition of Sir Hugh Platt’s description of the drawing machine he invented (c.1594), which documents early 17th-century state-of-the-art tracing equipment & practices (possibly in use for copying maps); see Lib. Cat. No. PLAT1594a.

19th-century printer's decorative tail-piece

go to TOP of page

go up a level: Table of Contents page for the She-philosopher.com GALLERY