Map of North and South America

Frederick de Wit's decorative map, made about 1650, includes oval vignettes of Latin American cities along the top border. Single figures of different native peoples line either side, including a Virginiani chief and brave, as shown in the detail. Some figures have been crudely colored to cover their nakedness. The map represents a flawed understanding of New World geography, such as picturing California as an island.
Many maps of the Americas were produced during the period of exploration and colonial settlement in the 17th century. The period between 1630 and 1700 is known as the golden age of Dutch cartography, as the Netherlands was a center for map publishing as well as for the country's maritime enterprise that depended on maps and charts.
The Museum's map collection includes a number of important examples received as a gift from Mabel Brady Garvan, who, with her husband Francis P. Garvan, built an important collection of American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts that is now at the Yale University Art Gallery.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
ca 1650
De Wit, F.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 17 3/16 in x 21 7/8 in; 43.65625 cm x 55.5625 cm
place made
Nederland: Noord-Holland, Amsterdam
United States: California
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
Exploration and Discovery
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Francis P. Garvan
Additional Media

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