WELCOME 16th Century Pennsylvania Maps WELCOME

There are a surprising number of printed 16th century maps of North America, Burden describes a total of 132. McCorkle includes 59 in the catalog of New England maps, however continental maps are included also. There are only about a half dozen 16th century printed regional maps of Pennsylvania using the definition adopted here. A couple are essentially the same map with the same name; a couple can only figuratively be said to include a piece of the state and are listed here for completeness; another just barely includes a piece of the state. So, it is just as accurate to say there are only two 16th century printed maps of the Pennsylvania region.

In addition, there are a few regional maps from manuscript atlases which survive because they were prepared as presentation pieces for important people, like monarchs. Most of the manuscript and printed maps of America from this era are world or continental maps, or also show the Caribbean and part of South America which were the first areas settled, and so are not included.

The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was published by Abraham Ortelius in 1570 and is considered the first atlas ever made as such, but lacks a regional map of Pennsylvania to include here. The 1584 edition contained the map 'La Florida' discussed below.


  1519.1 (East Coast) This Spanish manuscript map of the east coast by Lopo Homem is reproduced in Johnson (1974). The crude geography and indistinct Spanish names make it difficult to say just what particular part of the coastline is represented, but it may include future Pennsylvania.
1527.1 (East Coast) Winsor describes a manuscript map in the Ambrosian Library in Milan by Vesconte Maggiolo showing the east coast of North America with "Tera Florida" at top and "Lavoradore" at bottom. The information supposedly came from Verrazano's voyage (~1524). A facsimile of the map in Winsor is shown here. The original was destroyed during the Second World War.
  1540.1 (East Coast) There is a map of the North Atlantic coast from an anonymous manuscript atlas circa 1540 held at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, shown as Plate 152 in Cumming, Skelton & Quinn.
  1545.1 (East Coast) A manuscript map circa 1545 is shown as Plate 69 in Cumming, Skelton & Quinn titled 'The land discovered by the Pilot Estevan Gomez,' from the Islario General of Alonso de Santa Cruz, held at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. It purportedly shows the coast from Carolina to Newfoundland, but only the New England part is illustrated.
  1547.1(East Coast) The Vallard Atlas from Dieppe, described by Wallis in Images of the World (see Wolter & Grim), contains a regional map of North America from Labrador to Florida. It has a large decoration of French settlers and Indians along the bottom and south at the top. A detail from this map is also reproduced in Portinaro & Knirsch who say it is from a mapmaker named Pierre Descelier, and they include another similar map dated 1544. The map, attributed to Vallard, is also in Johnson (1974).
1548.1 TIERRA NVEVA by Giacomo Gastaldi from La Geografia, his version of Ptolemy's Geography, the first book to contain regional maps of America and one of the first to be engraved on copper. This is the first printed regional map of the area that was to become Pennsylvania and is the earliest map in Burden (Burden #16) fitting the description of a Pennsylvania map as used here. The map includes the east coast from Labrador to Florida, both named. The main source for the map was the voyage of Verrazzano in 1524, who made the Carolina coast and the Hudson estuary, but missed both the Chesapeake and the Delaware. Image from the Heritage Map Museum CD by permission. 
  1550.1 (East Coast) This parchment map of uncertain date appears in a mid-16th century manuscript atlas by an unknown from the French Dieppe group of portolan chartmakers. It shows the east coast from Labrador to Florida. The St. Lawrence is depicted but it is hard to recognize anything else. North is at the bottom and and there are two beautiful ship drawings. It is reproduced in Portinaro & Knirsch.
  1556.1 LA NOUVELLE FRANCE, from the manuscript atlas Cosmographie Universelle by Guillaume le Testu, 1556. The St. Lawrence River is in the center of this map and the coast trending south is called 'Coste de la Floride.'
  1556.2 The same atlas contains another map called TERRA NEUVE with the northern coast titled 'Laborador', the middle 'Terre Neveve' printed upside down, and the southern part 'Coste de la Flovride'. Both these maps are reproduced in Portinaro & Knirsch. There are two other maps shown from the atlas but they include the Caribbean and so are not included here.
1561.1 TIERRA NVEVA, from the Girolamo Ruscelli version of Ptolemy's Geography, the second printed regional map of the American coast (Burden #30). The map apparently covered two pages and a half page of text can be seen on the verso through the paper. The Pennsylvania region is named L'arcadia, a description applied by Verrazzano to the wooded coast during his voyage of 1524. This map is similar to the 1548 Gastaldi map except for some mountains and rivers added to the landscape. A high resolution image of this map can also be seen at The Cartographic Creation of New England , an exhibit at Oscher Map Library. Both of these TIERRA NVEVA maps can be seen in the New England map checklist at MapForum.Com , Issue 13. The last state of this map appeared circa 1599 with some additional place names added. Scale: 1 inch = 350 miles. Size: 7 x 9.5 inches.
1584.1 LA FLORIDA, from the 1584 edition of Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Additamentum III, Antwerp 1584, and later editions (Burden #57). The first edition of this atlas in 1570 is considered the first ever made, but lacked the addendum and this map. The source of the map, and some others in the addendum, was Geronimo de Chaves, the Royal Cosmographer to the King of Spain. The map appears on a sheet with two other maps showing Peru and the east coast of Mexico. Although the latitude extends to 42 degrees, it can only figuratively be said to include Pennsylvania as the area is covered by the cartouche. This image is from the Library of Congress.
1590.1 AMERICAE PARS, NUNC VIRGINIA DICTA , PRIMUM AB ANGLIS... by Theodore De Bry, based upon a manuscript map of John White (Burden #76). North is to the right and the Chesapeake Bay is wrongly oriented east-west. A piece of Pennsylvania, by a stretch of the imagination, would be part of the blank land area above the title cartouche and there are no latitudinal markings to rule it out. Theodore de Bry, in 1590, published this map based upon information provided by John White, who was involved in Walter Raleigh's first Roanoke Island settlement in 1585. This group, unlike the famous later one which disappeared, returned to England and White's sketches survived to form the basis of the map. It shows the coast from Chesapeake Bay to Cape Lookout. This was the most detailed map of this region until John Smith's map of 1612. This map is also in Stephenson & McKee and Schwartz & Ehrenberg. An original manuscript map by John White is reproduced in Fite & Freeman and Schwartz & Ehrenberg. Two of White's manuscript maps are reproduced in color in Lorant; they show the southeast coast but not the land extending above the head of the bay as this printed map does. White also produced a large number of sketches and water colors of the natives and the fauna and flora of the new world. In 1588 Thomas Hariot, also on the Raleigh expedition, published A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. De Bry included Hariot's account and some of White's sketches and drawings in his 1590 publication. In 1591 de Bry published a similar volume on the 1564 French expedition to Florida. A summary of these two publications by de Bry is given by Lorant where all of White's original sketches and maps are reproduced in color as well as de Bry's engravings. The de Bry engravings of Indians have appeared in countless histories and geographies over the years. Image from the Heritage Map Museum CD by permission.
  1590.2 (Northeast Coast) This is an Italian manuscript map, about 14 x 19 inches, by Jacques Dousaigo, bound in an atlas of six charts. It shows the coastline from Newfoundland to presumably Hatteras, nothing in the Pennsylvania area is recognizable. It can be seen online at Charts and maps - National Maritime Museum, at Greenwich.
1597.1 NORVMBEGA ET VIRGINIA, by Cornelis Wytfliet from his Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum (Burden #103). The Virginia capes are there from White's map, but the Chesapeake Bay is still oriented east-west and everything north seems to be guesswork. The Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum contained one world map and eighteen regional maps of the new world, so the book is sometimes called the 'first atlas' of the Americas. Eight maps relate to North America (Burden #100-107), this map shows the Pennsylvania area. Chesipooc Sinus is named, placed too far north, and the whole mid Atlantic coast is not accurate. The image here is the state 2 version of 1607 per Burden which lacks the date under the title. Image from the Heritage Map Museum CD by permission.
1597.2 CONIBAS REGIO CVM VICINIS GENTIBVS. Another map from Wytfliet's Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum (Burden #100), this map of Hudson Bay (not yet so called) extends south to latitude 40 degrees and east to 300 degrees east of Ferro, and so would include a chunk of Pennsylvania. At this time nothing was known of this part of North America; however, the map does show a large body of water extending south into the heart of the continent. So where did the information come from? There is another map in Wytfliet's Descriptionis, called FLORIDA ET APALCHE (Burden #104), which extends north to 41 degrees and so would include the state, however the part of the map that would be Pennsylvania territory is covered by the map cartouche. The map is reproduced in Winsor and that image is shown here.
  1598.1 NORVMBEGA ET VIRGINIA by Johannes Metellus. Several of the Wytfliet maps were printed again in 1598 for a German edition of Jose de Acosta's De Natura Nova Orbis including this reduced version of the 1597 northeast map (Burden #118). The maps CONIBAS REGIO CVM VICINIS GENTIBVS and FLORIDA ET APALCHE (Burden #115, 119) also appear sans latitude and longitude markings.
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