Amsterdam: Cornelius Claesz (Cornille Nicolas), 1609.
Map. Uncolored. Sheet measures 12.75" x 9.25"
This hard to find map of Novaya Zemlya or Nova Zembla, an archipelago in the Arctic Sea located just north of Russia, dates to 1609. The map covers from Kildyn (Kildin Island) off the coast of Finland to the Orange Island (discovered by Barentz), and includes the northern and western coast of the island while the southern and eastern coasts remain unmapped. The map beautifully renders the topography and the sea, with a Dutch ship making its way through the Barents Sea, signifying the route taken by Willem Barentz, after whom the sea was named.
Above the map is text describing part of the First Voyage of Willem Barentz during this Arctic explorations. It was during this voyage that his crew encountered Polar Bears for the first time and a large herd of Walruses. The map includes illustrations of the animals. An inset of Loms Bay is also included in the top left of the map. The map is in good condition with some staining near bottom margin. Minor edge wear. Original plate mark visible with minor wear.
The French text describes part of the Arctic explorations of Willem Barentzs (c. 1550--1597), a Dutch navigator and cartographer. Conducted between 1594 and 1596, Barentzs' three voyages into the seas north of Siberia are widely considered the most notable of many European efforts in this period to find a northern sea passage to China and India.
Gerrit de Veer (c. 1570-1598), second mate to Barentzs, kept a journal where he describes the journeys in meticulous detail, including the discoveries of Spitzbergen, Bear Island, and Novaya Zemlya during the successful third voyage, which Barentzs piloted under the command of Jacob van Heemskerk. Perhaps the third voyage's most famous incident was when after the ship became entrapped in ice, de Veer, who was also the ship's carpenter, directed the dismantling of the ship and the subsequent construction of a cabin from its lumber in which the crew spent the winter.
Although Barentzs did not survive the trip back, de Veer and some of the other crew members journeyed home on open boats and were eventually rescued by Dutch ships. De Veer's journal was originally published in 1598 in Latin by Cornelius Claesz, one of the most significant Amsterdam publishers of the end of the sixteenth century.
A prominent publisher of early Dutch travel accounts, Claesz adopted de Veer's heroic tale and commissioned Baptista van Doetichum to produce engravings to accompany the text. Many of these incredible images depicted walruses--referred to as "big cows"--sea monsters, and polar bears for the first time, as well as beautiful scenes of icebergs and crew activity.
Condition: Very Good