A interesting and detailed map of the world, showing California as an Island, including the routes of Circumnavigating explorers.
This engaging map was printed by Herman Moll (1754-1732), one of England's most commerically savvy mapmakers, in an effort to capitalize on the public's contemporary fascination with global exploration. The map embraces the entire world, as it was then known, and inlcudes the sailing routes of three of the most famous Circumnavigators, namely, Sir Francis Drake, Willem Schouten and William Dampier. Cartographically, California is shown as an island, America's Pacific Northwest is an enigma and the mapping of Australia is shown to be still largely incomplete.
Sir Francis Drake (1540-96) was most famous one of the 'Saviours of England', for defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588. However, in Latin America he was still, over a century later, referred to as 'El Dragón', ('The Dragon') due to the his piratical missions against Spanish towns and shipping. In 1577-8, Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the World, as shown on the present map, sailing across the Atlantic, and up the Pacific coast of South America, all the while raiding Spanish targets. He was allegedly the first explorer to reach Northern California, supposedly landing near Point Reyes, north of San Francisco. Drake returned to England via the East Inides and the Cape of Good Hope.
Williem Schouten (c. 1567-1625) was a Dutch explorer, who along with Jacob Le Maire (who died part way through the voyage) sailed around the world in 1615-7. Notably, Schouten and Le Maire rounded Cape Horn, naming the Le Maire Strait, and definitively proving that Tierra del Fuego was an island and not part of an apocryphal southern continent.
William Dampier (1651-1715) has been called by biographers a "Pirate of Exquisite Mind". Dampier started out in 1679 as a corsair on the crew of the famed pirate Bartholemew Sharp. From 1686-91, he circumnavigated the World, making important discoveries in the East Indies and Australia. His book, A New Voyage around the World (1697) was a bestseller and revealed Dampier to be a highly insightful observer of natural history, geography and anthropology. Popular fascination with Dampier's exploits was largely responsible for Moll's desicion to publish the present map.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was one of the most important London mapmakers in the first half of the eighteenth century. Moll was probably born in Bremen, Germany, around 1654. He moved to London to escape the Scanian Wars. His earliest work was as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, a failed work which landed Pitt in debtor's prison. Moll also engraved for Sir Jonas Moore, Grenville Collins, John Adair, and the Seller & Price firm. He published his first original maps in the early 1680s and had set up his own shop by the 1690s.
Moll's work quickly helped him become a member of a group which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill, where speculators met to trade stock. Moll's circle included the scientist Robert Hooke, the archaeologist William Stuckley, the authors Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, and the intellectually-gifted pirates William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and William Hacke. From these contacts, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was included in his maps.
Over the course of his career, he published dozens of geographies, atlases, and histories, not to mention numerous sheet maps. His most famous works are Atlas Geographus, a monthly magazine that ran from 1708 to 1717, and The World Described (1715-54). He also frequently made maps for books, including those of Dampier’s publications and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Moll died in 1732. It is likely that his plates passed to another contemporary, Thomas Bowles, after this death.