John Blaeu's



Great Atlas of





(Amsterdam,  1662)


This is the first Latin edition of Blaeu's atlas of America,  which formed the eleventh volume of his great Atlas Major.  It was the greatest and finest atlas ever published.  No other atlas ever published was as costly,  or had such an exalted place in the society in which it was produced. The Atlas Major was such a symbol of status that it became the traditional state gift presented by the Dutch government. Its prestige derived mainly from the remarkable standards of production involved.  For quality of engraving, typography, and paper, the atlas has never been surpassed.


The atlas of America contained twenty-three maps that helped to shape contemporary conceptions about the geography of the New World more than almost any other source. Included is a general map of the continent,  famed for its side panels that contain costumed figures and city views,  as well as a distinguished series of regional maps. Of particular interest are the maps of New Netherland and New England and the map of Virginia,  which is the first version of John Smith's map published on the European continent.