VIRGINIA/ MARYLANDIA/ et/ CAROLINA/ IN AMERICA SEPTENTRIONALI/ Britannorum industria excultæ/ repræsentatæ/ â/ Ioh. Bapt. Homann S.C.M. Geog./ Norimbergæ.
Origin: Europe, Germany, Nuremberg
Overall: 19 7/16 x 23in. (49.4 x 58.4cm)
Framed: 27 5/8 x 30 3/4 x 7/8in. (70.2 x 78.1 x 2.2cm)
Black and white line engraving with period hand color on laid paper
Acc. No. 1968-138
The lower right cartouche reads: "VIRGINIA/ MARYLANDIA/ et/ CAROLINA/ IN AMERICA SEPTENTRIONALI/ Britannorum industria excultæ/ repræsentatæ/ â/ Ioh. Bapt. Homann S.C.M. Geog./ Norimbergæ."
Label:Probably in 1714, Johann Baptist Homann published Virginia Marylandia et Carolina primarily to encourage Germans to come to America. Although much of the geography Homann depicted was outdated, an important feature was the inclusion of Germantown Teutsche Statt, a western settlement promoted by Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, Alexander Spotswood.
That Homann's map was intended to promote German immigration to America is reinforced by the decoration in the cartouche. It was intended to suggest the potential for achieving wealth in America. The well-dressed settler, pictured beside the stone monument containing the English royal coat of arms, is surrounded by trunks, barrels, gold, exotic fruits, and natives bearing gifts. In the lower background is a tobacco barn, indicative of the highly profitable tobacco trade, and a shed for drying cod.
There is a subliminal message alluded to in this cartouche as well. Throughout this period most people subscribed to the widespread belief that all forms of nature fell within a "chain of being." Every existing aspect of the universe was assigned a rank that formed a vertical hierarchical chain. The meagerest, inanimate objects were positioned at the lowest links, surmounted by differing levels of higher beings that ultimately ascended to God at the top. Mankind ranked highest among earthly living beings.
The colonial gentleman and the symbolic stone monument with the coat of arms were placed at the pinnacle of the design. The natives are illustrated beneath the colonial gentleman in what the English perceived as their natural rank - a lower link in the chain - clearly subservient to the Englishman, who is represented above all other forms of nature.