By: Jan Huygen Van Linschoten
Date: 1596 (Published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 15.25 x 20.75 inches (38.7 cm x 52.7 cm)
This is an authentic, antique map of the western coast of Africa. The map was superbly engraved in the Flemish style by Arnold Florent van Langren and published by Cornelis Claesz as part of Huygen Van Linschoten’s Itinerario in 1596
This map is often touted as the most lavishly ornamented maps to come out of the 16th century. It features two striking views of Ascension and S. Helena, several sailing ships flying Dutch flags, a ferocious sea monster, terrestrial animals, a pair of sirens in Zaire Lacus, compass roses, graceful swash lettering, and an ornamental title cartouche, which interestingly retains the Portuguese coat-of-arms. The map extends from the Guinean Coast to just beyond the Cape of Good Hope with interior detail of central Africa. Many of the place names and delineation of the coastline were extremely accurate as they were based on earlier Portuguese portolan sea charts that were strategically kept in secrecy from other European powers.
While working as a personal secretary to the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa (1583 – 1589), Linschoten obtained numerous maps and documents from various Portuguese sources. In 1589, while traveling back to Portugal from Goa, Linschoten’s ship was pursued by an English fleet and lost its cargo during a storm while anchored off the Azores. Linschoten spent two years in Tercera after being persuaded to help recover the cargo and prepare notes from his time in Goa. A few years after his return home to the Netherlands, he published his maps in Itinerario which would aid the Dutch and the English in discovering trade routes to Asia. The discovery of these routes would ultimately break the century-long trade monopoly controlled by the Portuguese. Linschoten’s experiences and the publication of maps that followed would ultimately become one of the most important travel works of the era.
Condition: This map is in B condition with facsimile restoration and a reinforced archival backing. Margins have been extended to accommodate for framing.
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