Praefecturae de Paraiba, et Rio Grande

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (*1571 - 1638)
Old coloured map of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Brazil. Printed in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu in 1662.

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Reference 11769

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Impressive and coveted map of the coastline in the north-east of Brazil. The map was published for the first time by J. Blaeu in Rerum per octennium in Brasilia by Caspar Barlaeus in 1647 and also serves as the lower right sheet of the 9-sheet wall map Brasilia qua parte paret Belgis. Based on the geographical information of Cornelis Goliath, Elias Herckmanns and Georg Markgraf, who surveyed the northeastern part of Brazil, when it was under Dutch control. The map is among the first based on non Portuguese sources.

Shown are the Brazilian states of Paraiba and Rio Grande do Norte with the Manguaba River. Richly decorated with a procession of the Tupinambá people with a Dutch flag. To the left a sugar mill. Below three sea battles fought in 1640. Oriented with west at the top. From the Latin edition of Atlas Maior, printed 1662 in Amsterdam.


CartographerWillem Janszoon Blaeu
TitlePraefecturae de Paraiba, et Rio Grande
Publisher, YearJoan Blaeu, Amsterdam, 1662
Plate Size41.6 x 53.3 cm (16.4 x 21.0 inches)
Sheet Size43.6 x 55.5 cm (17.2 x 21.9 inches)
ReferenceVan der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 9850/4:2D


5cm split of top centerfold backed. Very good condition.


Willem Janszoon Blaeu was born 1571 in Alkmaar. He was trained from 1594 to 1596 by the famous danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. 1599 he went to Amsterdam and founded a business as globe maker. Later he started producing map and sea charts, including his first world map in 1605. In 1633 he was appointed Hydrographer for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). His most famous work was the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus of 1635, which was published until 1655 in total six volumes. After Blaeu's death in 1638 his sons Joan and Cornelis continued the business and finished the Atlas Novus and started an even larger work, the Atlas Maior, which reached 12 volumes. In 1672 a fire destroyed the printing house and most of the printing plates. Joan Blaeu died the following year, leaving the business to his three sons Willem (1635-1701), Pieter (1637-1706) and Joan II (1650-1712). While the business began to decline in the hands of his sons, the dominance of the Blaeu publishing house finally ended in 1703 when the V.O.C. stopped publishing maps bearing the Blaeu family name. Some of the surviving plates were bought by F. de Wit and Schenk & Valk.

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Willem Janszoon Blaeu: Praefecturae de Paraiba, et Rio Grande.
Old coloured map of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Brazil. Printed in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu in 1662.

South America - Blaeu, Willem Janszoon - Praefecturae de Paraiba, et Rio Grande

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