Explorers 1: Cabot to Champlain

Map of early European exploration along the Maine Coast. This map shows the routes of Cabot in 1498, Verrazano in 1524, Gomez in 1525, Ferdinando in 1579 and Champlain in 1604 and 1605. Early routes have been interpreted from explorers accounts, while Champlain left maps.

From The Maine Bicentennial Atlas: An Historical Survey, 1976. Courtesy of Maine Historical Society.

Map of New England 1700

Johannes van Keulen succeeded a generation of earlier Dutch cartographers. In 1681, he published the first part of his five volume Sea Atlas; it appeared in further editions, carried on by his son. This chart shows the fishing banks in the Gulf of Maine and details the coast between Cape Cod and Cape Sable.

Map of New England: Pas-Kaart Vande Zee Kusten inde Boght van Niew Engeland Tusschen de Staaten Hoek en C. de Sable.

John Smith's Map of New England, 1616

John Smith was the first Englishman to make usable maps of the Maine Coast.  This map also has a good portrait of the explorer. 

Much of his mapping was based on descriptive information from the inhabitants of New England. 

This map and description was the basis for New England colonization, with its aim to encourage colonies. In it Smith coined the name New England. Some of the names for the royal family were given by Prince Charles (later Charles I). Smith named the Isles of Shoals off New Hampshire for himself.

Cape Cod to Penobscot Bay ca. 1655

Detail of map showing eastern New England, from Rhode Island to Penobscot Bay and Norumbega. 

From VISSCHER, Nicolaas Jansz , Map of New Belgium, New England and Virginia, first published in 1655 with editions up to 1727, published in Amsterdam. 

Like all maps of that era, titles were in Latin:

"NOVI BELGII / NOVÆQUE ANGLIÆ NEC NON / PARTIS / VIRGINIÆ TABULA / multis in locis emendata a / Nicolao Joannis Visscher"

Maine Native Settlements and Trading Posts

Map of the general location of the Maine Indian tribes and the trading posts, along the Maine coast, as depicted in The Maine Bicentennial Atlas: An Historical Survey, 1976. Courtesy of Maine Historical Society.

Champlain Map of North America 1612

Samuel de Champlain made 12 voyages to New England and Canada between 1603 and 1635. He mapped and published his findings and made the first useful maps of the Maine coast. On his 1603 trip he explored up and mapped the St. Lawrence River. From 1605-1606 he explored the Maine Coast. In 1608 he explored what is now Lake Champlain and in 1611 ascended the St. Lawrence to what is now Montreal. 

Penobscot Bay, 18th Century Towns

This map shows English settlements in the Penobscot Bay area around the time of the American Revolution. Base map provided through the Maine State GIS web page.

Eastern New England, c. 1640

Map of eastern New England, showing English and French settlements up to 1640.

From book, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier by Colin Woodard, published by Viking in 2004. Map drawn by Jojo Gragasin. Map used by permission of the author.

Atlantic Northeast in 1605

This map shows what is now northern New England and the Maritime Provinces, as settled by Native American tribes and nations. This presentation is somewhat simplistic as it does not indicate that the naming of the peoples here is subject to some controversy. Champlain wrote that "Etchemins" lived in the land between the Kennebec and the St. John Rivers, while other writers equate Etchemin with the Passamaquoddies only. The data is limited, subject to interpretation, and cannot easily be shown on a map.


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