Date: 1780 (circa)
Dimensions: 16 x 12 inches (40.5 x 30.5 cm)
This is a one-of-a-kind late 18th century manuscript map of the southern part of Africa. The map was drawn based upon the map Africae Pars Meridionalis cum Promontorio Bonae Spei Accuratissime Delineato Opera... by Tobias Conrad Lotter, 1778.
The map is drawn to show a rugged though not necessarily accurate coastline with the interior containing many mountainous regions with several rivers running between them. Throughout the map place names are provided in Dutch that relate to kingdoms, villages, and old forts, including 'Ruinen van een Portugusisch Fort' and 'Ruinen van het Hollands Fort,' on the Spiritu Santo and Marquis rivers.
The Many Kingdoms within the Map
Many kingdoms are show in the map, some of which existed during the time the map was drawn and others previously fallen. The Kingdom of Mutapa existed from 1430 - 1760 in Zimbabwe and expanded to what is now Mozambique. The Kingdom of Matamba (1631–1744) appears on the map and was an African state located in what is now the Baixa de Cassange region of Malanje Province of modern-day Angola.
The Kingdom of Benguela was first discovered by the Portuguese in the late 16th century. At that time it stretched from the headwaters of the Cuvo River to the Longa River, covering the northwestern highlands of what is today Angola. In the early 17th century, the Portuguese established a trading post here that would not meet the expectations in mineral resources and soil quality, so a village was only established for the slave trade, under the name of Mbaka.
The Land of the Hottentot
Much of this map is dominated by the term Hottentot which was historically used to refer to the Khoekhoe, indigenous nomadic pastoralists of South Africa and Namibia. According to the Oxford Reference, the term comes from Dutch, perhaps a repetitive formula in a Nama dancing-song, transferred by Dutch sailors to the people themselves, or from German hotteren-totteren ‘stutter’ (with reference to their click language).
The word Hottentot is first recorded in the late 17th century and was a name applied by white Europeans to the Khoikhoi. It is now regarded as offensive with reference to people and should always be avoided in favour of Khoikhoi or the names of the particular peoples. The only standard use for Hottentot in modern use is in the names of animals and plants.
Condition: This map is in B condition with a few rolled folds, some staining (mostly in the lower left), a minor paper pull at center-right, and some loss to the paper along the right margin. All things considered, the color and condition of the map is quite impressive for its age and the fact that it is a manuscript work that likely spent much of its existence as a loose sheet of paper.
Ref: Norwich 177
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