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1832 Antwerp.

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Date: 1832 (Published) London

Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.5 inches (32 x 39.5 cm)

This handsome map of Antwerp, Belgium, was published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, also referred to as SDUK. The map provides a bird’s eye view of the city as it had developed by 1832. Situated on the west bank of the Schelde River in the lowlands of Europe, the city is depicted, along with its fortifications on both sides of the river.

The city proper at the time of the map’s publication was on the west bank of the river, with the east side eventually becoming populated only in the early 20th century. In addition to its fortifications and moats, the map depicts in detail the streets of Antwerp. Above the map is an inset of the city as viewed from a road passing nearby, and across the bottom of the map are pictured many of the city’s important architectural edifices. A second inset in the lower right quadrant features the fortifications along the Schelde between Antwerp and Fort Lillo.

While the region which became Antwerp was probably inhabited earlier, settlement of the site has been dated by archaeological excavations back to a Roman vicus (village) established in the second century CE. By the fourth century Germanic Franks were settling in the region, and as Rome’s influence faded, the city became increasingly German. Christianity was introduced in the 7th century, and in the 9th century the region became a border county of the Holy Roman Empire.

The city is located ideally for shipping and trade and by the 13th century it had become an important mercantile center, trading with Venetians, Genoese and the English. The city also attracted a large number of Jewish families, primarily from Spain and Portugal. By the end of the 15th century many foreign merchants had made Antwerp their permanent home, and by the end of the 16th century the population of the city was 100,000, up from 20,000 in the 14th century. The city had become a truly cosmopolitan centre with its own bourse, attracting artists and merchants alike.

Its foremost industries included breweries, malt factories, and bleaching works, along with finishing works of (English) cloth, tapestry, and silk factories. Antwerp became the centre of the burgeoning sugar trade and its sugar refineries, along with its myriad industries, made Antwerp one of the greatest industrial centres of western Europe. The city also became a great cultural centre as its school of painting began to flourish at the end of the 15th century. Its printing houses became known throughout Europe and humanism began to thrive in the previously stark and rigid atmosphere of earlier ages.

Condition: This map is in A condition with original outline hand coloring on clean paper with full margins on all sides.

Inventory #12322   

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