Maps of van Der Donck and Ogilby

New Netherland, 1656.

Maps provide some of the best evidence about the location of Lenape Indian towns and expansion of European settlements in the Delaware Valley prior to the founding of Pennsylvania by English Quaker William Penn. Adriaen van der Donck's map of New Netherland (1656, right) and John Ogilby's map of the Atlantic rim from Virginia to New France (1671, below) offer visual images of the interconnections among Native American communities and European colonies. The ocean, rivers, and bays were highways that facilitated trade rather than boundaries between colonies.

The significant overlap between these two maps shows how Ogilby, publishing in London, simply appropriated information appearing on van der Donck's earlier Dutch map. Both compilers relied heavily on earlier charts. Though the English had taken control of New Netherland in 1664, renaming it New York, Ogilby continued to use Dutch names such as Zuydt Rivier (South River) for the Delaware. Some of the place names along the west and east banks of the Delaware represent settlements of New Sweden (1638-1655): Fort Christina and Fort Elsenburgh. Other names represent Dutch outposts established prior to 1635: Fort Nassau and Swanendael.

The names of Lenape towns such as Naraticons, Ermomex, Matovancons, and Sanhicans provide important evidence about the diversity of Indian groups prior to large-scale European settlement, but the locations indicated on the maps are at best approximate. While the Native Americans controlled much of the land between the Delaware River and Atlantic Ocean as late as 1671, their populations were declining from diseases the Europeans brought.

Jean Soderlund
Deputy Provost for Faculty Affairs

America, from Virgina to New France, 1671.







John Ogilby (1600-1676) America: Being the Latest, and Most Accurate Description of the New World... London: Printed by John Ogilby, 1671.