Bermuda Map

Source: Mappa Aestivarum Insularum alias Barmudas dictarum [Bermuda map], Special Collections Map Collection MC0035

Staff Person: Ralph Scott


Mappa Aestivarum Insularum alias Barmudas dictarum [Bermuda map.] Amstelodami [Amsterdam,] Apud Henricum Hondium [Henry Hondius,] ca.1633?{some sources give date as 1621} 33 x 51 cm. Scale: 1:70,000. Special Collections Map Collection MC0035, Purchase, State Appropriated Funds, 2008.

Bermuda was discovered by the Europeans probably around 1503 and was included in Spanish charts as early as 1511. The island was named in honor of its supposed discoverer Juan de Bermudez. For around the next 100 years the island was visited by passing Portuguese and Spanish vessels looking for water. In 1609 the flagship of a Virginia Company fleet, the Sea Venture on a rescue mission to Jamestown, was wrecked on the island, leaving the English in control. This shipwreck is reported to have formed the basis for William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Bermuda at first passed to control of the Virginia Company and later in 1615 to the Somers Isles Company. Due to limited resources on the island, acts were passed in 1616 and 1620 banning the hunting of birds and turtles. These acts became the first conservation laws in the New World.

This map was drawn shortly after the Somers Isles Company took control of the island and was published, it is thought, in Amsterdam during the period 1621-1633. Distances on the map to Bermuda are given in “Stadiorum Milliarum” to Florida, Plymouth [Massachusetts], New England, Cape Henry, Cape Charles and Roanoak–the latter location marking the place of the famous “Lost Colony” of 1587. This map forms an interesting companion piece to other items in Special Collections, notably several travel accounts of the period and the “Croatan Archaeological site ring”.

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Mappa Aestivarum Isularum alias Barmudas dictarum

Mappa Aestivarum Isularum alias Barmudas dictarum