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Map of Lesser Antilles
Joan Vinckeboons (1617–70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and for more than 30 years produced maps for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Maior. This pen-and-ink and watercolor map ...
Brief Principles of the Arabic Language
Philippo Guadagnoli (1596–1656) was a Franciscan priest and Italian orientalist. A native of Magliano in the province of Tuscany, he joined the Franciscan order in 1612 and devoted himself to studying Arabic and other languages of the Middle East. He served as professor of Arabic and Aramaic at Università “La Sapienza” in Rome. His writings include an Arabic translation of the Bible (said to have taken him 27 years to complete) and a polemical work entitled Apologia pro Religione Christiana (In defense of the Christian religion), published in Rome ...
Guiana and Caribana
This map of part of the northern coast of South America is a Dutch version of a map originally produced around 1650 by Nicolas Sanson (1600–1667), royal geographer to Kings Louis XIII and XIV, and commonly known as the father of French cartography. Numerous editions copied from Sanson were printed in the early 18th century. The map covers the region from the island of Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco River in the west to the mouth of the Amazon River in the southeast. Sanson divides this area ...
All Essential Matters on Firearms
This treatise, with rich illustrations, is entitled Huo gong qie yao (All essential matters on firearms). Its alternative title is Ze ke lu (Rules for defense). The text was originally dictated by Tang Ruowang (the Chinese name of the German Jesuit missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell, 1592–1666) in 1643 and copied by the late-Ming scholar and expert on firearms, Jiao Xu (active 1643). Jiao Xu expressed his view that the technical standards of Chinese cannons and other artillery weapons were not inferior to those of the West and ...
The Most Recent and Most Accurate Description of All of America
Little is known about Dutch cartographer Jacob Meurs, born about 1619. He was a map publisher, engraver, and bookseller in Arnhem, and later in Amsterdam. After his death, his wife, known simply as the Widow Meurs, continued his business. This map, claiming to be the “most recent and most accurate description” of the Americas, closely follows Nicolas Sanson’s contemporary map of the New World, also published in 1650, including Sanson’s “mistakes”: California is drawn as an island, and the Great Lakes are distorted in comparison to later, more ...
Map of California Shown as an Island
Joan Vinckeboons (1617-70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was in the employ of the Dutch West India Company and produced maps for over 30 years for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Major. This map from around 1650 ...
Zemaitija Castle Court Year Book for 1646–47
At the height of its power in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ruled over the territory of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland, and Russia. In the Union of Lublin of 1569, the Grand Duchy and the Kingdom of Poland merged to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The commonwealth had a highly developed legal and administrative system, based on local land courts that decided civil cases involving the gentry and castle courts that dealt with other local matters, including criminal cases. Courts ...
Geographic Chart of the Kingdom of Chile
This map by the Chilean Jesuit priest Alonso de Ovalle (1601–51) appears in his book Histórica Relación del Reyno de Chile (Historical narration about the kingdom of Chile), considered the first history of the country. The map is the result of a major descriptive effort begun during Ovalle’s first trip to Europe, as “Procurator” of Chile, in 1641. At the time, the Jesuits needed support for their missionary work in the south of Chile, and Ovalle was commissioned to recruit help and raise money. Answering the need for ...
Journal of New Netherland 1647. Written in the Years 1641, 1642, 1643, 1644, 1645, and 1646
Willem Kieft (1597–1647) was a Dutch merchant who was appointed by the West India Company as director-general of New Netherland in 1638. Kieft instituted a harsh policy toward the Indians of the colony, whom he attempted to tax and drive from their land. In 1643, a contingent of soldiers under Kieft attacked a Raritan village on Staten Island in a dispute over pigs allegedly stolen from a Dutch farm. This led to the bloody, two-year conflict known as Kieft’s war, which raged in parts of what is now ...
Prosperity of the West India Company
This pamphlet of 1642 contains a number of proposals to increase the profits of the Dutch West India Company for the benefit of its shareholders. The company was established in 1621 under a charter granted by the States-General, the governing body of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Similar to the Dutch East India Company, which was founded in 1602 to promote trade with Asia, the West India Company was granted a 24-year monopoly on all trade by Dutch merchants and inhabitants in a region that included the Americas and ...
Description of New Netherland (as it is Today)
This book, published in Amsterdam in 1655, is one of the most important sources for the study of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Adriaen van der Donck was trained as a lawyer at Leiden University. In 1641–43, he worked at the vast patroonship (estate) of Rensselaerswijck, surrounding present-day Albany, New York. He then applied for and received from the West India Company his own grant of land, a large tract located just north of Manhattan in present-day Westchester County, New York. (The city of Yonkers takes its name ...
General Depiction of the Empty Plains (in Common Parlance, the Ukraine) Together with its Neighboring Provinces
Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan was a French engineer who worked in Poland between 1630 and 1647. He built fortifications in Ukraine, most of which was then under Polish control, took part in battles with the Cossacks and Tatars, and in 1639 traveled by boat down the Dnieper (Dnipro, in Ukrainian) River. Beauplan produced two important early maps of Ukraine that were based on his own observations and his own careful astronomical and topographic measurements. His map of 1648, shown here, includes detailed information about the border areas, including Tatar ...
Description of Malta
Della descrittione di Malta (Description of Malta) was published during the first era of printing on the island of Malta. At the time, Malta was ruled by a religious order, the Order of the Hospital (also known as the Knights of Malta), which held the island as a fief from the Holy Roman Emperor. Because the order was exempt from the authority of the local bishop, there were often conflicts about ecclesiastical jurisdiction. To adjudicate between the order and the bishop, in 1561 the pope ordered a resident inquisitor to ...