Nowel Amsterdam en Lamerique

Author: Jollain, Gérard
Publisher: Jollain, Gérard
Date: 1672
Location: New York (N.Y.)

Dimensions: 33.0 x 51.0 cm.
Scale: Scale not given
Call Number: G3804.N4A3 1672 .J6


One of the earliest European attempts to publish a view of a North American city from a birds eye perspective is this image titled New Amsterdam. Issued in 1672 by French publisher Gerard Jollain, it was deliberately mislabeled.Eight years earlier, the British had captured the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and renamed it New York.

Not only is the map outdated, it is also completely fictitious! In fact the street pattern, the buildings, and the hilly topography are those of late 16th-century Lisbon, Portugal. These elements were copied from a popular image of Lisbon that was originally published in Braun and Hobenbergs Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cologne, 1572-1617). A Dutch cartographer published a ground-level view of New Amsterdam several years before Jollain issued his view, but it is not likely that a French audience would have been familiar with the more accurate Dutch portrayal.

As if to attest to the views geographical accuracy, Jollain added an inset showing the relative location of New Amsterdam within the New Holland colony. He also added place names showing the adjacent British colony of Massachusetts and neighboring Indian groups. The text, in both Latin and French at the bottom of the view, describes New Amsterdam as a Dutch colony.

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