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World Maps

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america maps

africa maps

asia maps

europa maps

australia maps





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Old Master


Trading Companies

Medieval Manuscripts

Articles about mapping

We hope you enjoy the following readings. Please return often as we ad articles on a regular base.


GOOS Zuijder Zee chart Sea charts

Sea charts, whether printed or in manuscript form, often have a romantic appeal far stronger than that of land maps. The romance of the seaman's intrepid voyages through uncharted waters can often be sensed when examining a chart.

Before the development of printing there was an active chart making industry based around the Mediterranean in places like Genoa, Venice and Majorca. From such centers manuscript 'rutters' and 'portolans' were produced for the Mediterranean and Southern European Atlantic coasts. Throughout the sixteenth century the manuscript portolan, in single sheet or atlas form, was the only relatively accurate source of navigating information. Read more

Soil and geological maps

Soil maps

There is something about soil maps from the early twentieth century. Their colors seem more vivid than those of modern maps. Even their legends are more interesting: Soil maps were primarily created to delineate the soils of the state, they show much more than that: They offer a glimpse of the transportation infrastructure (steam and electric railroads, trails, ferry landings), landscape features that may not be visible today (salt marshes, swamps, tidal flats, escarpments, rock outcrops), and geology (stony and gravelly areas, quarries). Read more


Van Santen coloring  Master colourist" Dirk Jansz van Santen

In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands held a prominent position in Europe in the production of books, maps and prints.
Not only were the number, diversity and quality of printed works renown, but also the "versiering" - the application of decorative graphic elements in the colouring of maps, prints, title pages, opening and closing vignettes, etc. Little is known about the many print and map colourists, the 'const- en caertafzetters', who lived in the Netherlands at the time. Since their work was usually not signed, they have remained anonymous'. The most important exception to this rule is Dirk Jansz van Santen. Read more

old map of Japan

The mapping of Japan

The Japanese cherish a great love for maps. Of old they adorned all kinds of objects with cartographic images of the world, of Japan, of their town or province. Before the Japanese came into direct contact with Europeans, they made maps that represented the Buddhist world. In that world there were only three great cultures, i.e. India, China, and Japan.
After the arrival of the Europeans, the Japanese realized that a much larger world existed outside of India, China, and Japan. The world maps created by the Flemish and Dutch cartographers like Abraham Ortelius, Gerard Mercator, Petrus Plancius, Willem Blaeu that the Dutch brought with them revealed what the unknown world looked like. Read more

  Tips for prospective map collectors .

This page offers information on the different aspects of Map collection.
Types of Collections - Factors Affecting Map value - How Condition Affects Value - Map Colouring - How to Detect Reproductions - Storage - Reference Materials Read more

optica print Optical prints

Little has heen published (particularly in English) on the type of print known as the perspective view, intended for use in an optical diagonal machine. Nevertheless these prints were highly popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and still appear regularly on the art market. lt therefore seems worth collecting what information is known and adding what I have heen able to discover. Read more

Speculative bubbles - The First financial cricis.

Speculation in shares was known as the Bubble, and the trade was known as "Wind-Handel" and "Wind-Negotie," (both meaning Wind-Trade), because of the trader often didn't own the shares and also tried to talk up the price. Dutch companies formed in the Bubble tended to be local affairs, associated with the cities where they were founded. Stock offerings were often public in name only, with local officials and other insiders buying up most or all of the stock.
It couldn't last, of course. There was no real regulation, and instead there was some government connivance. Read more

Dutch East India Company V.O.C.

Trading compagnies

V.O.C.  Dutch East India Company

It was to be the end of the 17th century or even the beginning of the 18th before all the West European maritime powers were represented by companies on the new trade routes to the Far East, to which the then all-embracing term East Indies was applied. The East Indies comprised all the new discovered regions east of the Cape of Good Hope, which included: East Africa and the islands along its coast, the basin of the Red Sea, India west and east, the Malay Archipelago, China and Japan. The increase in the number of contestants in the new mercantile traffic between Europe and Asia made for a new equilibrium and redistributed the world into new spheres of influence. Read more


Willem Janszoon Blaeu

(1571-1638) founded one of history's greatest cartographic publishing firms in 1599.The Blaeu family has its origin in the island of Wieringen, where about 1490, Willem Jacobsz., alias Blauwe Willem the grandfather of Willem Jansz. Blaeu was born. From the marriage of Willem Jacobsz. and Anna Jansd. sprang six children. The sond son, Jan Willemsz. (1527- before 1589) was the father of Willem Jansz Blaeu, who continued the family tradition by practising the trade of herring packer. In his second marrariage with Stijntge. Willem Jansz Blaeu was born in 1571.
Blaeu moved in 1598/9 from Alkmaar to Amsterdam and set up a shop selling globes, seaman's instruments and maps. In 1605 he moved to the nowadays called Damrak, where most of the Amsterdam booksellers and mapmakers were established at that time. The house was called 'In de Vergulde Sonnewyser' (In the gilt sundail). By 1608, he had already published a fine world map and a popular marine atlas. His early works include a globe from 1599, and maps of European countries and a world map in 1604-1608. Read more

ZUDA ROKASHI (Priest Hotan) - Nansenbushu bankoku shoka no zu.[Outline Map of All Countries of the Universe]

Published in Kyoto, 1710 (Hoei 7 = Year of the Tiger) by Bundaiken Uhei (fl. 1680 - 1720).
This map is a great example for Japanese world maps representing Buddhist cosmology with real world cartography. It is the earliest one and - therefore - the prototype for Buddhist world maps. The map centred on 'Jambu-Dvipa', the mythological heart of Buddhist cosmography where Buddha was born in Northern India with the sacred lake of Anavatapta, and the four sacred rivers Ganges, Oxus, Indus, and Tarim flowing from it, the map extending from Ceylon to Siberia, and from Japan to the British Isles 'Country of the Western Woman', with Europe as a group of islands, Africa figured as a small island, and a land bridge connecting China with an unnamed continent to the East [?America]. Read more

BLAEU, Willem Janszoon (1571-1638). Pascaarte van alle de Zécuften van EUROPA.
Amsterdam, 1621 or later, but before 1650] Blaeu's chart greatly influenced other Amsterdam publisher's. A striking feature of the relatively small number of paintings that comprise the ouevre of Johannes Vermeer is the prominent place accorded to maps and globes. The use of maps as wall hangings in contemporary Dutch houses went beyond the desire for cartographic information. Maps were also used to express status, to promote a better understanding of history or politics or to take the place of paintings. Interestingly, Johannes Vermeer used this chart in his painting The geographer ( 1669) Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. Read more