Augustine Herrman was born in Prague, in what was then Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic) in 1621 or 1622. His family immigrated to the Netherlands in the 1630s, and by the mid-1640s, Hermann had immigrated to New Netherland, where he worked as an agent for the Amsterdam mercantile firm of Peter Gabry and Sons and for the Haarlem trader Coenraet Coymans. He sold furs, Dutch goods, andin the greater Chesapeake Bay area, where he became familiar with the bay’s sounds, inlets, and other maritime features. In 1648, New Netherland leader Peter Stuyvesant made Herrman one of his advisors. He served as an ambassador for New Netherland, conducting boundary discussions with the colony of Maryland, and met of his own accord with Virginia leaders to discuss that colony’s boundaries with Maryland. This convinced him of the need to create a map of the area between the Delaware River and Virginia to , but Stuyvesant showed no interest in such a venture. Herrman made a similar proposal to Cecil Calvert, second Baron Baltimore, who oversaw the Province of Maryland. Calvert agreed, and in 1660 Herrman began drafting his map. In return, he was granted 4,000 acres of land in Cecil County, Maryland, where he built a plantation named Bohemia Manor after his birthplace.
The Herrman Map
Herrman spent ten years working on Virginia and Maryland As it is Planted and Inhabited this present Year 1670. It reflects his expansive knowledge of both colonies and his experience with Dutch maritime traditions. It is a large map, approximately thirty-one by thirty-seven inches, printed in four sheets from four copperplates, drawn in the Dutch cartographic tradition. The size of the chart suggests it was made to be used by mariners, not inserted in an atlas. It is believed that Herrman sketched the map’s coastlines, harbors, measurements, and distances himself. Walter W. Ristow, former head of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Reading Room, believed that Herrman personally explored and surveyed the mapped area and consulted various contemporary maps.
Virginia and Maryland As it is Planted and Inhabited this present Year 1670 was published in London in 1673. It was engraved by William Faithorne, printed and sold by John Seller, hydrographer to the king of England, and advertised in the London Gazette. King Charles II issued a copyright for the map in 1674. Only 200 copies were printed, and a second printing was not requested. It was purchased by the Lords of the Committee of Trade and Plantations, which advised the Privy Council about the management of England’s colonies, as well as by Samuel Pepys and Lord Baltimore.
On the map, soundings mark the depth of waters, shoals, marshes, and sandbars. Isobaths, imaginary lines that connect points having the same depth, call attention to the bay’s navigable areas. Plantations and houses are depicted in rows along the riverbanks; small labels mark manors and icons denote plantations. English and Indian settlements are noted by names and clusters of buildings. Numerous Virginia counties appear: Accomac, Charles City, Elizabeth City, Gloucester, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, Lancaster, Lower Norfolk, Middlesex, Nansemond, New Kent, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Stafford, Surry, Westmoreland, and York.
Descriptions fill the map, as do important boundary markers like the stand of trees and dotted lines that note the boundary between Maryland and Virginia on the Eastern Shore and Maryland’s future boundary with Pennsylvania. Pictorial images of mountains lie in the northwest quadrant, ships sail in the Chesapeake Bay, and an Indian-style canoe sits just off the coast of New Jersey.
Additional ornamental and practical symbols adorn the map. A two-tiered stand bears the title and legend, guarded by figures that represent Indigenous Americans. The spiny leaves of an acanthus flank the bottom, while an ornamental shield surmounted by a Neptune head and a trailing cluster of leaves sit at the top. A mariner’s divider oversees the map’s scale, which is presented as bar scales in English miles and English leagues. A portrait in the southwestern quadrangle may be Herrman or a composite portrait by the map’s engraver, Faithorne. The British royal arms lay astride the northeast and northwest quadrants, where Lord Baltimore’s coat of arms was placed by Faithorne.
Herrman’s map was important because it was the most accurate map of the bay area to date at a time when the economies of Maryland and Virginia were reliant upon the bay’s estuaries and rivers. Herrman’s work was heavily copied for the next century.
The borders of. It was particularly helpful in Maryland’s boundary adjudication of 1678 and when Lord Baltimore negotiated Maryland’s boundaries with Pennsylvania in 1682. Virginia and Maryland As it is Planted and Inhabited this present Year 1670 was used in boundary dispute litigation between Maryland and Virginia and in the 2000s.
Despite its importance, Herrman’s map eventually slid into anonymity and remained obscure until the nineteenth century. It is a rare map; only five copies are known to exist worldwide. A copy did not reside in an American institution until 1929, when the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, acquired a copy, noting in its annual report that the map was so rare as “to be almost the subject of legend.” The Library of Congress acquired its copy in 1960, when the Bibliothèque Nationale de France exchanged one of its three copies with the library in exchange for a fifteenth-century manuscript chart of the Mediterranean. The fifth known copy is owned by Cambridge University’s Magdalene College.