Pensylvania, Nova Jersey et Nova York cum regionibus ad Fluvium Delaware in America sitis

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This is a map by Tobias Lotter focused on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. It is an extraordinary map for lots of reasons. The depiction of the geography and political boundaries of the day reflect the way things were in the 1760s. Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey — great prominence; and Philadelphia is, at the time, the largest city reflected, marked as it is by a very large red eight-pointed star in the middle. Several comments are in order.

This map was made by a German mapmaker, Lotter, and he made it in response to great interest back in Germany about the area depicted. Eastern Pennsylvania was, after all, one of the principal places in which Germans emigrating to the Americas settled, and there would be more to come in part because of maps like this. They answered a felt need in Europe to tell a little bit more about what it is that this “New World” would look like if they came. In the upper left-hand corner, is a huge cartouche[1] – a colorful cartouche reflecting William Penn trading with indigenous people, and running through the rest of the cartouche are a variety of animals – a wild turkey in the middle, a stag with great horns in the upper-right – and throughout there is activity that immediately draws the eye.

Another interesting feature of the map is the distortion of New England, which may, in part, have been intentional or, in part, simply for lack of knowledge. But New York is squeezed beyond recognition. Connecticut, the same. Rhode Island is a mere blip. Massachusetts is highly narrowed and, remarkably, Cape Cod is reflected as being part of Connecticut. So, a lot of re-organizing of the understanding of this part of the world was yet to come. But as a map, and as a piece of attractive propaganda for coming to this part of the New World, the Lotter map is hard to surpass.

[1] “Cartouche, in architecture, ornamentation in scroll form, applied especially to elaborate frames around tablets or coats of arms. By extension, the word is applied to any oval shape or even to a decorative shield, whether scroll-like in appearance or not.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.



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