By: Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg
Date: 1574 (Published) Cologne
Dimensions: 13.4 x 18.5 inches (34.05 x 47 cm)
This Braun and Hogenberg sheet is from the second edition of their monumental oeuvre, Civitates Orbis Terrarum. The map presents four bird's-eye views on one sheet including two cities in northern Africa and two in India: Casablanca (Anfa) - Azemmour (Azamor) - Diu - Old Goa (Velha Goa). The history of each of these cities in some way involves Portugal’s empire building and/or its former seagoing prowess.
Anfa is an ancient site which has been inhabited for millenia. Early settlement was by the Berbers in about the tenth century BCE, following which it was a port for the seagoing Phoenicians. Eventually it became a major commercial port of the Roman Empire and was officially incorporated into the empire by Caligula. Following the Vandal conquest of northern Africa in the 5th century AD, the area was under the control of a number of different Berber groups until the 15th century when pirates began to use the port as a safe harbour, and in 1486 it was raided and destroyed by the Portuguese, who used building materials from its ruins to build a fort nearby which became the city known as Casablanca.
Anfa is depicted here as it appeared following its destruction and purposeful razing to the ground by the Portuguese. The scene is one of abject desolation. Some towers have survived and the outline of the city’s walls is clear though the walls themselves have suffered significant damage, leaving them worthless as fortifications, but valuable as material for the building of a new city, Casablanca, which today is the economic and commercial capital of Morocco.
Azemmour (Azamor) is a city which lies on the left bank of the Oum Rabie River about 45 miles south of Casablanca. At the time the Portuguese destroyed Anfa, Azemmour became a tribute paying Portuguese vassal until 1508 when the Portuguese conquered the city. In 1513 Azenmmour’s governor refused to pay the tribute and was able to raise a fairly powerful and well-equipped army to oppose Portugal. In response to the challenge a massive fleet and legions of soldiers, including Ferdinand Magellan of circumnavigation fame, were sent to subdue the city which fell with no resistance from its inhabitants. Portuguese control of the city was short-lived due to Portuguese economic woes, and in 1541 the city was abandoned by them.
Azenmmour is depicted as a small but well-fortified settlement with numerous high towers resembling those in Italian hill towns. High walls surround the town and a waterway secures one side. A frigate is pictured sailing toward the city.
Commentary by Braun: "Sufficient cereals and vegetables of all kinds grow there, although the gardens produce almost nothing but figs. There is much fish here, however, with which some 6,000-7,000 ducats are generated a year. Fishing lasts from October till the end of April. The fish is commonly fried in a little oil in a pan."
Diu is an island at the entrance to the Gulf of Cambay in the Indian Ocean. Controlling it was important in the era of colonization and empire building, as a few smartly placed cannons on the island could easily enable it to dominate and even control trade and commerce taking place along the entire Indian Ocean rim. The view of the island here is from a perspective at sea. A number of towers are depicted along the walled fortifications which appear to encircle the entire island, which measures only 15 miles square. The struggle for dominion over it culminated in a fierce naval battle in 1509 which pitted the Portuguese against a combined fleet of Egyptian, Arab and Indian forces. The Portuguese conquered the fleet thus securing the country’s supremacy in the Indian Ocean.
Commentary by Braun: "Diu is an island and also the name of a lovely town that formerly lay under the rule of the city and district of Khambat. Diu lies at the entrance to the Gulf of Cambaia in the Indian Ocean and was fought for and eventually won by the Christians with 23 ships with particular trouble and effort, because Diu had the king of Cambaia, Aden and Calicut on its side."
Goa is situated on a peninsula and is depicted here from across the Mandovi River delta in front of the open sea. A great naval battle is taking place, illustrating the manner in which Portugal used enmities amongst the various Indian regional kingdoms to their own advantage. Aside from the city proper, a number of fortified settlements are depicted, all European in character.
Old Goa (Velha Goa), as the caption reads, is a fortified city in India which came into the power of the Christians in the early 16th century. By sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama opened a sea route from Europe to Asia which resulted in a Portuguese monopoly on exploration and trade in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese interests on India’s west coast were determined primarily by sailing conditions, and Goa provided a defensible island with excellent harbour facilities on either side. Goa became the colonial capital of Portuguese India, and Portugal would retain possession of Goa and the surrounding region for 450 years, eventually home to a large Eurasian population. Old Goa, as the city is now called, is the capital of India’s smallest state, of the same name, with 1.45 million inhabitants.
Descriptive text in Latin is on the verso.
Condition: This old-color map is in A condition with slight soiling at the edges. The centerfold has been repaired and reinforced on the verso.
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