Tijdschrift voor de Geschiedenis van de Kartografie
Sjoerd de Meer
The ‘Atlas of the world’: the world map of Gerard Mercator (1569) in the form of an atlas
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 1, pp. 3-9]
In 2012 the 500th birthday of Gerard Mercator (†1594) will be commemorated. Mercator is known mostly because of his posthumous world atlas of 1595 and his world map of 1569. The world map, Nova et aucta orbis terrae descriptio ad usum navigantium emendatè accommodata, is famous as being the first map in which the Mercator projection was used. The Mercator projection enabled navigators to plot a course on a map as a straight line. One of the three copies of this world map still in existence is, since 1932, in the possession of the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam. It is a world map in the form of an atlas and is known as the ‘Atlas of the World’. It was composed probably as an atlas by Gerard Mercator himself. In 1967 the ‘Atlas of Europe’ was discovered. It is the twin brother or sister of the ‘Atlas of the World’ and also probably composed by Mercator. Nowadays it belongs to the British Library. Both the ‘Atlas of the World’ and the’ Atlas of Europe’ were once in the possession of Werner von Gymnich, marshall of the court of Duke William of Cleve. It is not known why Mercator made both atlases. It is possible that they were used for the education of the Crown Prince of Cleve and, after his early death, became part of Werner von Gymnich’s Library. (back)
Paul van den Brink
The Working Group on the History of Cartography in the Netherlands 1959-1966
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 1, pp. 10-15]
Based on the fragmentary archive of this period on the Working Group, the author has reconstructed its inception and early flourishing in the early 1960s. He goes back to the very beginning of the pursuit of the study of the history of cartography in the Netherlands, and highlights the rôle of the Royal Netherlands Geographical Society (KNAG) in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Especially notable were the contributions of F.C. Wieder, map historian and librarian of Leiden University Library and B. van ‘t Hoff, head archivist at the National Archives. After WWII, Van ‘t Hoff and Prof. C. Koeman participated in establishing a cartographic section within KNAG, with - as one of its tasks - the study of the history of cartography, culminating in the official setting up of the Working Group on the History of Cartography in 1959. Next to organizing biannual seminars on historic cartographical subjects, it adopted an ambitious research agenda which, in the 1970s, was transferred gradually to Utrecht University where the chair of cartography had been recreated in 1968. After a period of inactivity in the 1970s the Working Group was re-established in 1984. (back)
A Dutch relic in the South-African soil: Van Plettenberg's beacon in the Karoo
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 1, pp. 16-22]
In 1778, Joachim van Plettenberg erected a stone memorial in the arid Karoo of South Africa. The memorial identified the northern limit of his
journey in the Cape Colony. It was close to the Seekoei River where he and his companions had slaughtered 20 hippopotami. Today, the site of the
beacon is about 30km West of the small town of Colesberg, on the highway between Cape Town and Pretoria.
This memorial stone was only 50cm above the ground. Nevertheless, it soon became an important beacon at the most north-eastern point of the boundary of the Cape Colony. Despite its small size and innocuous inscription, the local Khoisan considered the stone a symbol of colonial oppression. Consequently, they systematically destroyed it until 1892, when local farmers removed and stored the four remaining but recognisable fragments. Thirteen years later, the farmers sent the stone fragments to the Cape Town museum where they are still conserved. In 1938, a monument was erected close to the site of the original beacon. However, because the Historical Momuments Commission of South Africa was uncertain of the accuracy of the placement of the new monument, they did not officially proclaim it. A survey conducted in 1837, recent GPS readings, a trigonometric beacon and the assistance of the local directorate of Geospatial Information, I have determined that the monument probably was approximately 150 metres from the position of the original beacon. Van Plettenberg’s beacon appeared in numerous 19th century printed maps of the Cape Colony, e.g. in the maps of the pioneer travellers such as Barrow, Lichtenstein and Burchell and in the maps of publishers such as John Arrowsmith and the SDUK. The local government included the beacon in its cadastral map of the region. The Royal Engineers also included the beacon in its mapping of the region and its wagon roads. The latter linked local farms and towns. Arguably, this was the first rural road network in the country to be surveyed, part of which became the ox-wagon highway over the Orange River to the north-east of the country.
As a result of the colonial expansion, commercial farming and traffic on the wagon roads, the abundant wild life, in and around the Seekoeie River, and the indigenous people soon disappeared from the region about the beacon. Van Plettenberg’s beacon disappeared from printed maps at the end of the 19th century. The reasons were logical: the shift of the boundary of the Cape Colony to the Orange River and the destruction and removal of the stone beacon. Because the site of the beacon was not officially proclaimed by the Historical Monuments Commission, it does not appear on modern topocadastral maps.
Van Plettenberg’s beacon was cartographically and politically important. Also, it was a symbol of colonial expansion; the conserved fragments are a symbol of indigenous resistance. The beacon is in danger of being erased from the modern record of the turbulent history of the region about Colesberg. I recommend offical proclamation of the momument, which was erected more than 80 years ago, close to the position of the original beacon. (back)
Peter van der Krogt
The ‘Pierre levée’ of Poitiers: a dolmen with graffiti by mapmakers and draughtsmen
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 2, pp. 35-38]
About a kilometre east of Poitiers lies a dolmen, a large limestone megalith placed on some smaller stones, hence the name ‘Pierre levée’ (‘Raised
stone’). Students and travellers used to climb onto the stone and scratch their name into it. Among these ‘tourists’ were some famous sixteenthcentury
cartographers and draughtsmen, such as Hogenberg, Mercator, and Ortelius. The draughtsman Joris Hoefnagel visited Poitiers in 1561 when he and his companions inscribed their
names in the stone, too, and Hoefnagel made a drawing of it. The drawing was later printed in the Braun & Hogenberg town atlas.
On the stone, which broke into two pieces in the 18th century, various names are still legible; but those probably date from the 19th century. As was established during a visit in 2011, none of the earlier names is still discernable. (back)
Peter H. Meurer
Cornelius van Beughem – A forgotten minor figure in Amsterdam cartography
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 2, pp. 39-46]
Cornelius van Beughem (1639-1719?) was a bookseller living in Emmerich in the Duchy of Cleves, with close connections to Amsterdam over at least four decades. He is best known in literature as the author of some reference works, for instance the first bibliography of incunabula (Incunabula typographiae (Amsterdam 1688). Among a series of specialized bibliographies is the Bibliographia mathematica (Amsterdam 1688). It includes detailed data on, for example, the London map production in the third quarter of the 17th century and a synopsis of the maps in the multi-volume atlases of Blaeu and Janssonius. The results of Van Beughem’s personal interests were early distance tables of Cleves (manuscript 1690, published by his son Daniel van Beughem 1693 in Wesel) and of Great Britain (first published 1692 in Amsterdam by Abraham Wolfgang, with further issues by Pieter Mortier and by Covens and Mortier). (back)
The name of the sea between Korea and Japan based on Western printed maps of Japan up to 1800
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 2, pp. 47-54]
Nowadays seas are regarded as geographical objects in their own right, firmly demarcated and named, but in the 16th and 17th centuries this
practice had not then been established. Coastal waters might be named after the country they washed; or seas might be named after the country
they led to, just as was the case for highways, where the London Road would be the road leading to London. Simultaneously (and in an East-Asian
setting even earlier), cardinal directions were used as naming elements. The sea north of one country (or the sea that led one in a northerly
direction) would be named the ‘North Sea’ of that country but, simultaneously, could be the ‘South Sea’ of another.
This article describes the several stages of the naming of the sea between Korea and Japan up to 1800, on the basis of the maps incorporated in Jason Hubbard’s forthcoming cartobibliography Japoniæ Insulae. (back)
Brussels, Halle, Vilvoorde. A topographic comparison based on the town plans by Jacob van Deventer
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 3, pp. 67-74]
In the 16th century Jacob van Deventer drew about 250 topographic plans of towns situated in the Low Countries. They are generally known for their high standard of accuracy.
As a result, they are very important historical documents, which could be used for comparative topographic research of 16th-century towns and their immediate surroundings. In this article, the plans of Brussels, Halle and Vilvoorde - three neighbouring towns in the former duchy of Brabant - are analyzed and compared by using a new digital method for map analysis: the ‘Digital Thematic Deconstruction’. It starts from the assumption that historic maps are very complex and multilayered compilations of topographic elements, which have to be analyzed meticulously. The method not only allows one to isolate every single topographic feature, but also to gain insight into the complex composition and accuracy of the maps as a whole.
Moreover, it offers the opportunity to make a solid comparison of the topographic features and patterns of the urban landscape. On this basis, the 16th-century spatial characteristics of Brussels, Halle and Vilvoorde are compared for the first time. (back)
Maps of the Nature Scenery Act saved and now to be seen on the internet
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 3, pp. 75-78]
In The Netherlands private landowners were, at least until the mid-20th century, indispensable in the development of nature conservation. An
important improvement in this respect was the introduction of the Nature Scenery Act in 1928. It substantially eased the taxation pressures on estates. The law obliged owners to keep
their estates intact and open them up to the public if they wanted to reap the full benefits of the law. Until the early 1950s some 650 landed
estates, both large and small, and privately owned forests became strong pillars of nature conservation in The Netherlands.
Years ago, a complete collection of 300 maps concerning these estates was saved from a trash container of the Dutch Department of Agriculture. Dating from the 1950’s, they can now be consulted on the internet. The collection is administered by the Library of Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit. (back)
Henk van de Graaf & Martijn Storms
‘The polder in question’. The discovery of an unknown 16th-century legal map of the Donkersloot polder
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 3, pp. 79-84]
In 2008 Leiden University Library acquired an early legal map of the Donkersloot polder (south-east of Rotterdam). Historical research indicated that the map most likely was made
in 1545 by request of the lord of Alblasserdam, Gotschalck van Outheusden, for a legal dispute against the Water Board of Alblasserwaard.
In Gorinchem Regional Archives is kept a map from the same year by the opponent. The Donkersloot polder was part of Alblasserdam, but because of floodings in the 14th and 15th centuries, it ‘drifted’ apart from Alblasserdam. In the legal dispute of 1545-1549 Van Outheusden tried to clarify that Donkersloot was part of Alblasserdam and that he had usage rights of the polder. Both parties accused each other that the other’s map was inaccurate. In 1549 the Court of Holland justified the rights claimed by Van Outheusden for the greater part. The Water Board appealed but in 1579 the Great Council of Malines confirmed the Court’s finding. In 1814 King William I decided to add the polder to Ridderkerk. (back)
The Second World War in the Netherlands. An ‘exemplary’ summary of a difficult period mapped by the Stichting 1940-1945
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 3, pp. 85-90]
The number of Dutchmen with firsthand knowledge of the Second World War (1939-1945) is dwindling. A concise report of occurrences from this period is depicted on a map of the Netherlands and mainly concerns events within her borders. The map originally served as a marketing tool for the Stichting 1940-1945. Its purpose was to try to raise money for the victims of WWII, those who took part in the Resistance, and for their next of kin. Illustrations reflect the start of the War proper, the situation in the country during the War and the slow emergence of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, culminating in the Liberation by Allied Forces after the winter of 1944-45: this was the cause of death of around 20.000 Dutchmen through downright starvation for lack of food. (back)
The geometric basis of the map of Delfland of 1712 by the Kruikius brothers
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 4, pp. 107-114]
Jacob and Nicolaes Kruikius produced a map at the scale of 1:10.000 of the area covered by the Water Board of Delfland. The map was printed in
25 sections showing an area of about 22 x 22 km.
Twenty church steeples were referenced to the grid in minutes on the map. The grid was corrected for warping and size differences to obtain the original accuracy of the master drawings. The distances between church steeples were compared to the actual distances as they are known today. The absolute value of the difference in distances between church steeples on the map differed on average by 38 m with a standard deviation of 29 m. A comparison of the length indication on the map with actual distances revealed an exaggeration of distances of 1 promille.
The map was constructed in three separate parts: a map with the baselines comprises the two bases Delft-The Hague and Delft-De Lier and the church of Scheveningen; a map of churches in the upper two thirds of the area as measured from Delft-The Hague and a map of churches in the lower third of the area as measured from Delft-De Lier. The latter two were combined with the baselines map with a misfit of around 1 cm, allowing the deduction of this construction. (back)
The second edition of Ferrari’s wall map of Suriname: a unique example of Dutch-German cooperation in the field of educational cartography
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 4, pp. 115-122]
German educational cartography influenced the design of Dutch school atlases and school wall maps in many ways. Still, the second edition (1969) of F. Ferrari’s wall map of Suriname (1955) presents a unique example of actual cooperation between Dutch and German educational cartographers. W. Painke, of the post-World War II West German cartographic publishing house Justus Perthes, using directions and sources compiled by geography teacher Ferrari, redesigned the first edition of his school wall map published by Dijkstra. An important role as supplier of up-to-date cartographic data was played by the National Mapping Agency of Suriname in Paramaribo. The cooperation resulted in a much improved physical wall map on which Suriname is clearly, accurately and vividly represented. As could be expected considering the longstanding tradition of the acclaimed Haack-Painke physical wall maps, the relief is depicted with a plasticity unrivalled in maps of Suriname. (back)
The Atlas der Nederlandsche Overzeesche Bezittingen in the map collection of the Library of the Royal Tropical Institute
[Caert-Thresoor 31 (2012) 4, pp. 123-129]
The Library of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam holds a copy of Atlas der Nederlandsche Overzeesche Bezittingen (Atlas of Dutch overseas possessions), whose title-page mentions P. baron van Melvill van Carnbee (1816-1856). The reader, however, is misled because Melvill was neither the author of all the maps, nor the compiler of the atlas, but only the donor of the maps. Gijsbert Franco Baron von Derfelden van Hinderstein arranged those maps sent to him by Melvill into an atlas. Melvill was mentioned on the Atlas’s title-page in appreciation of his cartographic qualities. Therefore this atlas is a unique specimen with a very particular genesis. (back)
Laatst bijgewerkt op 2013-02-03 door Gijs Boink