Audience De Guadalajara, Nouveau Mexique, Californie, &c.


Nicolas Sanson, 1657


This map is the earliest to emphasize the island of California and became the model for the delineation of California for the next fifty years as the so-called second Sanson type, which displaced the earlier Briggs type (map 2). The map is essentially the left half of Sanson’s Le Nouveau Mexique, et La Floride of the previous year, but now in quarto size atlas form.  [You can access an image and story about Le Nouveau Mexique, et La Floridefrom the Images & Stories page.]

The new features include two deep bays on the broad northern end of the island named Tolaago and R. de Estiete, both of unknown origin. In addition, there is a peninsula on the mainland coast jutting across the top ofMar Vermejo and named Agubela de Cato, again of unknown origin. These new features initially appeared on Luke Foxe’s map of the Arctic Regions of North America in 1635 and on Joan Blaeu’s huge and influential world map of 1648. Nicolas Sanson’s version became well known and popular which made it the model instead of the less available maps by Foxe and Blaeu. There were many editions of this map, including imitations by others, published until 1715 in French, Latin, Dutch and German languages. No earlier map accentuated an insular California as much as this map by Sanson which provided the influence the new form was to have.

On the mainland, Santa Fe, the only Spanish incorporated town north of Mexico, is mislocated on the west side of the R. del Norte, or Rio Grande, which mistakenly flows south-west. Many of California’s place names come from Briggs (map 3that were derived from Vizcaino’s voyage and some from earlier voyages.
Nicolas Sanson was called the founder of the French School of Geography, as it gained influence over the Dutch during the last half of the seventeenth century. Sanson studied history and turned to cartography as a way of recording it. In 1630, he was made Geographe Ordinaire du Roi and later was one of the tutors to Louis XIV His heirs carried on their publishing business until the middle of the eighteenth century.

Glen McLaughlin

Audience de Guadalajara, Nouveau Mexique, Californie, &c. Par N. Sanson d’Abbeville Geogr. ordin du Roy. Avec Privilege pour 20 Ans. 1657. [Copperplate engraving, 20.5 x 24 cm. Published in L’Amerique en plusieurs cartes, & en divers traittes de geographie, et d’histoire… by Nicolas Sanson, Paris, 1657.]

From Warren Heckrotte (Ed.) & Julie Sweekind (Ass’t Ed.), California 49 [/] Forty-nine maps of California from the sixteenth century to the present, California Map Society, Occasional Paper No. 6,with The Book Club of California, San Francisco, CA, 1999.  Map courtesy of Society member.

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