Wit, Frederik de, 1630-1706.
"Poli Arctici, et Circumiacentium Terrarum Descriptio Novissima" [ca. 1676]. Copperplate map, diameter of 42.1 cm. within wider, rectangular border, handcolored, surrounded with whaling scenes. State 6, from Wit atlases. [Historic Maps Collection: purchased with funds provided by Robert M. Backes, Class of 1939.]

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This is Wit's version of a 1636 map by Henricus Hondius; hence, its cartography differs little from that of the Blaeu map [see previous case], except in the far north of Europe and Russia, where there had been much more progress in seeking a "Northeast Passage" from the voyages of Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz. Also, numerous place-names have been added throughout. According to carto-bibliographer Philip Burden, Hondius introduced this new polar map for the English edition of his atlas Atlanti novi in recognition of the increased Northwest Passage explorations of the English (notice the English names in the Hudson Bay area), and he used Dutch names along the coast of Labrador to reflect the Dutch whaling presence in that area. In fact, the whaling scenes that surround the map show ships flying Dutch colors (orange, white, and blue). Whalers, of course, were, and would continue to be, instrumental in providing information about Arctic sea and ice conditions. The Hondius plate was used by Hondius's partner, Jan Jansson, for later editions, and passed to Wit in the 1670s.