Author: Cassandra Britt Farrell

map specialist and senior research archivist at the Library of Virginia.

Zúñiga Chart

The Zúñiga chart, a manuscript map of the Chesapeake Bay and Tidewater Virginia, is a copy of a map that was probably originally drawn by Captain John Smith, one of the Jamestown colonists. Named for Don Pedro de Zúñiga, a Spanish ambassador to England, who sent it to King Philip III of Spain in September 1608, the chart is significant for its insight into the locations of Indian villages, the location of Jamestown and the architecture of James Fort, and the concerns and priorities of the English colonists.


Smith Map

Virginia: Discovered and Discribed was the definitive map of Virginia from 1612 until 1673. It depicts the Chesapeake Bay and four major rivers: the Powhatan, Pamunk, Tappahannock, and Patowomec (now the James, York, Rappahannock, and Potomac, respectively). The map also denotes the locations and English-language names of certain Indian groups and towns in Tidewater Virginia. Attributed to Captain John Smith, one of the first English settlers at Jamestown, the map was published in 1612 to accompany Smith’s pamphlet A Map of Virginia. The original engraved copperplate of the map was altered or added to twelve times between 1612 and 1624, resulting in the publication of twelve known states of the map. Because of its accuracy and detail, Europe’s best engravers and map publishers copied the geography and orientation of Smith’s map in their own printed maps of Virginia. Nine of these derivatives were published, beginning in 1618 and continuing throughout the seventeenth century.Virginia: Discovered and Discribed was the basic source of nearly every printed map of the Chesapeake Bay until 1673, when Augustine Herrman’s Virginia and Maryland As it is Planted and Inhabited this present Year was published. Smith’s map remains the best-known map of colonial Virginia and a critical source of information about the history of early settlement.


Fry, Joshua (ca. 1700–May 31, 1754)

Joshua Fry was a surveyor, soldier, and politician who is best known as the creator, along with Peter Jefferson, of the Fry-Jefferson map of Virginia. Born in England, Fry came to Virginia in or about 1726 and secured a teaching position at the College of William and Mary. After his marriage in 1736, he served Essex County as justice of the peace, sheriff, and coroner. In 1745 Fry became a resident of the newly formed Albemarle County, which he represented as a court justice, first lieutenant of the county, and a member of the House of Burgesses (1745–1754). In 1751 Fry, long a surveyor, helped create the Fry-Jefferson map, considered the definitive map of eighteenth-century Virginia. Following the map’s completion, Fry was appointed a commissioner of the Treaty of Logstown (1752) between Virginia, the Ohio Company, and representatives of the Six Nations of the Iroquois. In 1754 Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie commissioned Fry colonel of the Virginia Regiment. Fry died on May 31, 1754, after falling from his horse while leading his troops into the Ohio territory.


Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia

The Fry-Jefferson map, first published in 1753, was the definitive map of Virginia in the eighteenth century. Created by two of the colony’s most accomplished surveyors, Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, A Map of the Inhabited Part of Virginia containing the whole Province of Maryland, with Part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina included their completed border survey for the western bounds of the Northern Neck and a portion of the Virginia–North Carolina dividing line. For the first time the entire Virginia river system was properly delineated, and the northeast-southwest orientation of the Appalachian Mountains was fully displayed. Published in eight known editions, or states, the map was widely copied, and served as an important resource for mapmakers like Lewis Evans and John Mitchell, whose Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (1755) was used to determine the boundaries of the United States as established in the Treaty of Paris (1783). John Henry also relied heavily on the Fry-Jefferson map as he plotted county boundaries in his New and Accurate Map of Virginia (1770), and Thomas Jefferson, Peter Jefferson’s son, used his father’s map to compile A Map of the country between Albemarle Sounds, and Lake Erie, which accompanied his Notes on the State of Virginia (written 1781).

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