Central Canada or Conibas

by Cornelius van Wytfliet


Date of first edition: 1597

Date of this map: ca. 1597

Dimensions of the map (not including margins):  22 x 27 cm

Dimensions (including margins): 29 x 36,5 cm

Condition: Very good. Centre fold as published. Wide margins.

Condition rating: A+

Verso: blank

Map reference: Van der Krogt III B, , 9120:371

From: Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum; Van der Krogt III B, 371:1-13, page 15




Item number:
The Americas
North America
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Central Canada or Conibas

This map of Conibas region cim vicinis gentibus covers a huge area in central Canada and the United States. The empty spaces and haphazard use illustrate the lack of European knowledge of the North American interior at the end of the sixteenth century. Interesting is the comparison with Mercator’s world map of 1569 which depicted a large body of water in the north of the continent, possibly Hudson Bay? The name “Lake Conibas” first appeared on a map by André Thevet from 1575. It is suggested that this map is the result of an unknown voyage of discovery through Canada. Suggestions about early visitors to Hudson Bay cannot be confirmed to date. More likely, French trappers on the American east coast were informed by local Indians on the St. Lawrence River of the existence of an enormous circular lake that gave direct access to the open sea. It was only years after the publication of Wytfliet’s work that Henry Hudson sailed under the English flag into Hudson Street and Bay in 1611 (and was left on a boat there after a mutiny against him and thus came to a tragic end). The Great Lakes region is completely absent. Or should the waters near Faga represent these lakes? It is certain that Hochelaga represents Montreal. The unnamed river that flows from the north at Hochelaga into the Sint-Laurens is probably the Ottawa River. This river itself crosses several lakes. The name Sagvenai in the east refers to a former Indian tribe. Today it is still the name for a region and river in Quebec, which, admittedly, flows much further downstream in the Sint-Laurens. This map shows almost the entire North American continent.

To the south, the mythical Septem Civitates in Nova Granatae Pars are shown. The map is subject to a loan obligation to that of Cornelius de Jode. He had already published his Americae Pars Borealis map in 1593, which also depicted a large part of the continent. Both cartographers report a number of Native American settlements in central Canada, including Ciogigua, Canoagua, Zubilaga and Zahaira, all on the Obilo River. In the south is the mysterious settlement of Higuater (also on the Sint-Laurens?). In the southeast live the Calicuas (also called Moneton) who were a sub-tribe of the Cherokee and lived around West Virginia.

Original title: Conibas Regio cum Vicinis Gentibus