The First Sea Chart of the New Netherlands
Fine example of Arnold Colom's sea chart of New Netherlands, the Chesapeake, Virginia, etc., first published by Arnold Colom in about 1656.
Colom's sea chart is a landmark in the mapping of the region, depicting in a large scale the regions extending from the Dutch New Netherlands and New England in the north to South Carolina.
Called by Koeman "the first sea chart of the New Netherlands," Colom's chart is both highly important and exceptionally rare. Along with Theunis Jacobsz' circa 1650 sea chart of the area from Nova Scotia to the Outer Banks, it is one of the two earliest sea charts showing the significant improvements resulting from the Dutch exploration and occupation of the region. Colom's map, which is the more focused of the two maps and constructed on a much larger scale than the Theunisz, is by far the more accurate of the two charts, drawing on Visscher's highly important Novii Begli, first published circa 1655. Burden observes that the Colom draws information from both Janssonius's Belgii Novi . . . map of 1651 and the first state of Visscher's significantly updated map, noting that:
the Delaware Bay and River and much improved . . . as is the area between Chesapeake Bay and the Outer Banks. Curiously two Jamestowns are depicted, one at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Remnants of [information Burden believes to have been derived from Jacobsz] survives such as the use of Bloemers kil on the west bank of Delaware Bay. There is no recognition of the Dutch victory over the Swedish colonies here. Long Island is one unified island,as Janssonius had depicted it, although like other areas of the map, it shows independent sources. A few English settlements are noted, such as Stamfoort and Nieuwer haven, but none appear in the Connecticut River Valley, only the Dutch fort of De Hoop. One large improvement . . . is the recognition of Boston as one of the three most important towns on that coast. It is not present on the Jacobsz, Janssonius or Visscher maps.
The dating of the map has always been a mystery. In his monumental catalog of 1887, the legendary Dutch book and map seller, Frederik Muller & Cie, identified the Colom's map had being published in 1640 (item 902), while Stokes in The Iconography of Manhattan Island dated the charts as "before 1653?." Burden identifies 3 states of the map, each of which is extremely rare. Burden describes the map dated 1656 as the first state of the map, with subsequent states lacking the date. The second state includes the page number 13 in the bottom right corner, whereas the third state is number page 13.
Arnold Colom was the son of Jacob Colom, a well-regarded Amsterdam bookseller, printer, and chart maker. Colom produced two sea atlases, a guide and pilot for the Mediterranean and a general sea atlas of the World. Colom's Zee Atlas, published between 1654-58, was one of the largest format sea atlases of the 17th century, with each chart printed from an oversized copper plate. Koeman describes the atlas as "One of the most important atlases in the well known category of Dutch sea-atlases". Apart from its rarity, the Zee-Atlas was of importance for its inclusion of the earliest Dutch sea chart of the New Netherlands to appear in an atlas (Jacob Theunisz Lootsman's chart is believed to pre-date it, but seems not to have been regularly published until later), while the "three charts of the oceans are on the same scale (1:14mill.) as Portuguese and Spanish charts of that time. It marked the first time that such charts were published as atlas sheets" (Koeman IV, p.115).
Colom's sea chart of the New Netherlands is extremely rare on the market. We located only two copies of Colom's chart on the market in the past 30 years, once in a dealer catalog in 1995 (Martayan Lan, Catalog 14, Item 11, priced at $18,000) and once at Auction (Swann Galleries June 2, 2011, Item 41--where it sold for $33,600).