Deliniantur in hac tabula, Orae maritimae Abexiae, freti Mecani: al. Maris Rubri: Arabiae Freti Mecani: al Maris Rubri: Arabiae, Ormi, Persiae, Supra Sindam usque . . .
By: Jan Huygen Van Linschoten
Date: 1596 (Published) Amsterdam
Original Size: 15 x 21 inches (38.7 cm x 54.6 cm)
This is a fine print reproduction of a map of the Indian Ocean, that includes the horn of Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Persia, India, and Sri Lanka by Jan Huygen Van Linschoten. The map was published out of Amsterdam as part of Linschoten’s Itinerario in 1596.
This was a landmark map with regards to advancement in the geographical knowledge of India and the Middle East. Unlike other maps of the era, Linschoten presents the Arabian peninsula in a manner that closely represents modern day maps. Numerous port towns are included along the coastlines that were before unknown to Europeans. The map displays a decorative style that stems from that of earlier Portuguese sea charts, commonly referred to as 'Portolans.'
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.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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