The Islands and Mainland of the West Indies


Joan Vinckeboons (1617–70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and for more than 30 years produced maps for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Maior. This pen-and-ink and watercolor map from around 1639 shows the coasts of North America and South America extending from Virginia through the Yucatan Peninsula to Guyana in South America. Included are coastlines, coastal features, navigational hazards, islands, settlements, numerous rhumb lines, and a decorative wind rose. The map indicates early Spanish sites along the North Atlantic coast including Saint Augustine, Santa Elena, and Barra de Madre de Dios (Chesapeake Bay). The map also shows the location of the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas. Relief is shown pictorially. The map was once part of a manuscript atlas belonging to the Dutch firm of Gerard Hulst van Keulen, which published sea atlases and navigational handbooks for over two centuries. With the demise of the firm, the atlas was acquired and broken up by the Amsterdam book dealer Frederik Muller, who in 1887 sold 13 maps from the atlas attributed to Vinckeboons to the collector and bibliographer Henry Harrisse. This map is part of the Henry Harrisse Collection in the Library of Congress.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

De Eylanden en Vastelanden van Westindien

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 manuscript map : pen and ink watercolor, paper backing ; 48 x 69 centimeters


  • Scale approximately 1:170,000

Last updated: October 19, 2015