Kocherthal ‘s 1709 map of Carolina

A very cursory historical background on Kocherthal and the Palatines

Before we get to Kocherthal’s 1709 map of Carolina, a very brief historical background is in order. The Palatine region of western Germany was devastated repeatedly by wars in the 17th Century and early 18th Century. Famine and poverty inflicted by constant war are frequently cited as reasons for emigration of German Palatines during this period.

An unusually harsh winter of 1708-09, the coldest in Europe in the past 500 years, exacerbated famine conditions and may have prompted the Palatines to consider relocation.1 If decades of war and famine had not yet instigated mass migration, what encouraged the Palatines to finally overcome inertia in 1709? The major catalyst for mass emigration of Palatines to the Netherlands or England and eventually to North America, it turns out, was a small “Golden book”. It received its nickname from the gilt lettering of the title page and/or cover.

The title of this book has been translated into English as “Extensive and Detailed Report of the Famous Land Carolina, Situated in the English America.”2 The “Golden Book” was authored by German Lutheran minister Joshua Kocherthal (née Josua Harrsch), who based its contents on earlier Carolina promotional tracts published in London. Continue reading