Nicolas Sanson (aka, Sanson d'Abbeville); 1600-1667.
Nicolas Sanson, son; 1626-1648.
Guillaume Sanson, son; c1630-1703.
Adrien Sanson, son; c1630-1708.
Pierre Moulard Sanson, grand son; c1660-1730.
Born of an old Picardy house of Scottish descent, Sanson
was educated by the Jesuits of Amiens.
A trained historian, Sanson branched into cartography to better
illustrate his tutorial works. Attracting the attention of
Cardinal Richelieu, he was soon appointed "Géographe Ordinaire
du Roi". He was actually educating Louis XIII of France (and
then Louis XIV), in the related matters.
He is most well known for his major atlas "Cartes Générales
de Toutes les Parties du Monde" published in 1654, with several
re-editions (the last one in 1676 was named "Cartes Générales
de la Géographie Anciennes et Nouvelles").
But his call to fame comes from the preparation of a few maps
which proved to be seminal, and influenced generally accepted
continent delineations for many decades to come. Among others:
"Amérique Septentrionale" in 1650 noted for the "Island" California,
"le Canada ou Nouvelle France" noted for its first accurate
representation of the Great Lakes, and "le Brésil dont la
Côte est Possédée par les Portugais et Divisée en Quatorze
Capitaineries" (both in 1656).
Upon his death, his successors ran a continued successful
business, in particular thanks to their excellent partnership
with Pierre Duval (his son-in-law), and Alexis Hubert Jaillot.
Both men re-engraved a lot of his plates, and prepared the
unfinished maps he did not have the opportunity to print.
The Sanson dynasty is often credited for planting the seeds
of the golden age of French cartography in competition with
the Dutch school.
This relatively small map (9 13/16" X 6 7/8") is a close
copy of Sanson's seminal 1657 map of Florida (only a tad smaller
This particular example seems to have been printed for an
octavo edition of 1683 or 1692.
It is replete with cartographic elements taken from the 1584
Ortelius "La Florida", but adding a slew of fanciful/erroneous/flatly
- the mythical East-West mountain range,
- the interconnecting river network (the Spitritu Sancto being
the Mississippi, wrongly located.with sorry consequences for
future explorers -such as Cavelier de La Salle- trying to
find its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico),
-the two non-existent large lakes in the Carolinas.
Notice that present day Florida is named Tegesta Province
(after the Tequesta tribe), while the name Floride covers
the whole Mississippi basin.
Also notice that there are two Floridas: the Spanish one (most
of the territory), and the French one! This is a reminiscence
of the 1564 Huguenot colony set at Fort Caroline on the Saint
John River, which was promptly destroyed by the Spaniards
the following year. This attempt at claiming the area must
have amused the British who were busy colonizing the Carolinas
at that time.
Notice also that Fort Caroline is wrongly located near Port
Royal. Actually it should be located where San Matheo is shown
(name given by the Spaniards to the reconstructed colony).
No text on verso.