Nova Cæsarea: A Cartographic Record of the Garden State, 1666-1888
Historical Background Maps
Sixteenth-century maps of North America invariably include the territory of today's New Jersey. But their focus is the continent that had just been revealed by Christopher Columbus. Gradually, in the seventeenth century, regional, particularly coastal, maps began to appear as European explorers returned home from their adventuring and then started bringing settlers back to establish colonial possession.
The earliest printed map/chart of the territory that became New Jersey. A member of a well-respected Dutch family of map engravers/printers/publishers, Goos worked in Amsterdam during the golden age of Dutch cartography. According to English cartobibliographer Philip Burden, this is the rarest of Goos's atlas's charts. Larger than the others, it was probably issued separately and only included in the atlas by request; most copies of the atlas do not contain it. The rhumb lines and depth soundings convey its navigational purpose.
Stretching from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, to Rockaway, Long Island (streckende van Cabo Hinloopen tot Rechkewach), the map presents many place names that are familiar today. Cape Maey (Cape May), Groote Eyer Haven (Great Egg Harbor), Barnegat (Barnegat), Sant punt (Sandy Hook)—along the Atlantic coastline—remain virtually the same. Still recognizable ones among those shown on the western side of today's Raritan Bay and the Hudson River include Raritans Kill (Raritan River), Navesincx (Navesink), Staten Eylant (Staten Island), Constaepels hoeck (Constable Hook), Paulus hoeck (Paulus Hook), and Hooboocken (Hoboken). Several of these names are associated with Dutch captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, who voyaged along the Jersey coast in 1620–1621; in 1624, he brought the first Dutch settlers over to New Amsterdam and was appointed as the first director of the fledgling colony of New Netherland.
The various forts along what is now the Delaware River reflect the leapfrogging attempts, from the 1630s to the 1650s, by Swedish ('t Fort Christina, 't Fort Elsenburgh, Gottenburgh) and Dutch ('t Fort Nassau and 't Fort Kasimiris) colonists to assert claims to the new country. Though the Dutch Republic regained Manhattan in 1673, all of the area was permanently ceded to England the next year in the Treaty of Westminster.
Fort Nassau was the site of the first permanent European settlement in the future state. Constructed in 1623 by men under the command of Captain Mey, the fort was used as a trading post until it was abandoned in 1651. Its location has been disputed, but most agree it was near the confluence of the Delaware River and Timber Creek, the boundary of today's Camden and Gloucester Counties.
At the time of the map, the entire region belonged to the English, who had conquered New Netherland in 1664. That same year, the Duke of York (later, King James II), having been given the huge territory from New England to Maryland by his brother, King Charles II, granted the section between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to two friends, Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley.
THIS INDENTURE made the four and twentieth day of June, in the sixteenth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, Charles the Second, by the grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King Defender of the Faith, &c., Anno. Domini, 1664 ... Now this Indenture witnesseth, that his said Royal Highness James Duke of York ... doth grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm unto the said John Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, their heirs and assigns for ever, all that tract of land adjacent to New England, and lying and being to the westward of Long Island, and Manhitas Island and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river, and hath upon the west Delaware bay or river, and extendeth southward to the main ocean as far as Cape May at the mouth of the Delaware bay; and to the northward as far as the northermost branch of the said bay or river of Delaware, which is forty-one degrees and forty minutes of latitude, and crosseth over thence in a strait line to Hudson's river in forty-one degrees of latitude; which said tract of land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey... 1
This is the first formally documented delineation of the bounds of New Jersey. James named the province Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey, after the English Channel island of Jersey, Carteret's ancestral home, which had been the first English territory to recognize Charles's claim to the throne.
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Roggeveen worked for the Dutch East and West India Companies as a mathematician, navigator, and cartographer. His chart, derived from the previous map, changes its orientation (west is now at the top) and extends its coverage eastward along Long Island Sound to Oyster Bay (Oester Bay). Between the Zuyd Revier (South River, today's Delaware) and the Noort Revier (North River or today's Hudson), the nomenclature remains the same as before. Long Island (Lange Eyland), though, becomes an island with much greater detail on its western end.
In 1676, subsequent to a new agreement with new parties2—financial difficulties had forced Lord Berkeley to sell his share in 1674—New Jersey formally became two provinces: East and West Jersey. The dividing line acquired obvious cartographic significance. (See the "State Maps" subsection below for further discussion of this boundary line.)
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First state of the first map of New Jersey published in English. The map also contains the second earliest English view of New York City. Among other changes, later states improve upon the depiction of New York Harbor and acknowledge the division into East and West Jersey as directed by the Quintipartite Deed. Seller was an important English mapmaker, the first to establish an atlas-publishing firm to compete with Continental companies like that of the Dutch Blaeu family. In 1671, he was appointed "Hydrographer to the King." Financial difficulties ultimately forced him to bring in partners.
Oriented with north to the right, Seller's map offers an attractive pictorial view of the land: hilly, wooded, full of wildlife. His clear intent was to attract settlers to the territory recently regained (1674) from the Dutch. Representative—non-threatening?—Indian settlements are shown on the right. Cartographically, Seller has combined/borrowed features from earlier maps, such as one by Augustine Herrman of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay regions (1673) and the popular Nicolaes Visscher version of Jan Jansson's "Novi Belgii" (1651) with its inset view of New York City. There are no interior place names, but along the Delaware River he has maintained many of the Dutch ones. On the Atlantic Ocean, the Jersey coast now has a number of long barrier islands, bearing notes such as "wood land" and "sand land."
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This is a rare, pirated copy of an important colonial nautical chart of New York Harbor and environs, based on Tiddeman's hydrographic surveying of the area between 1724 and 1728. A British navigator and surveyor, Tiddeman also prepared a similar chart of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Both maps appeared in the fourth book of The English Pilot (London, 1732), published by the English maritime firm of Mount & Page, and were reissued in a pirated edition by George Grierson (1680–1753) in 1749. A member of a Dublin family of publishers, Grierson held the official monopoly on printing Bibles in the city. But his religious scruples did not prevent him from copying and reprinting maps of English mapmakers in editions bearing his imprint.
Oriented with north to the right, and centered on Coney Island (Cunny I.), the map identifies twenty-seven towns and villages, ten of which became part of New Jersey. Pictorially, Amboy (Perth Amboy) at top center is shown to be second in size and importance to New York City on "New York Island" (Manhattan). It was the capital of East Jersey and, later, co-capital with Burlington (West New Jersey) of the Province of New Jersey until 1776. In fact, three of the five major towns, indicated by the church symbol, are in New Jersey: Amboy, Elizabeth Town, and Bergen. (Besides "New York Town," Gravesend is the only similarly–marked town shown in New York State.) "Schyler's Copper Mine," placed near Barbados at the upper right, was New Jersey's earliest copper mine, established in 1715. (It was abandoned in 1865 and permanently sealed in 1949.) "Robins Reef," off Constable Point (now Constable Hook, Bayonne), is the site of today's Robbins Reef Light Station, a sparkplug-shaped lighthouse. The name derives from rob, the Dutch word for seal, many of which would rest there at low tide in the seventeenth century. Though "Staten Isle" (and other harbor islands) lies clearly within New Jersey waters, it became part of the colony of New York when the Dutch ceded control of New Netherlands to the British in the Treaty of Breda (1667) at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
The main purpose of the map is to aid sailors in navigating the treacherous entrance to, and shoals and banks of, New York Harbor. Depths are given in fathoms; sand banks are stippled. "Indian Trees" (left center), a visual feature of the Navesink Highlands that is shown on several early New York Harbor charts, is provided as a navigational aid for ships leaving Gravesend, an important port. It was a grove of prominent trees on an elevated part of coastal Monmouth County, today's "Garrett Hill," which is now restricted government property. But threading the waters was more challenging than Tiddeman's map suggests. Historians have argued that the inaccuracies of this chart (and other contemporaries)—and the fact it was not updated over several decades—are to blame for the loss of scores of British and American ships in the area during the eighteenth century.