Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

Arent Roggeveen is a man to whom students of cartography owe a great debt. The ‘Het Brandende Veen’ provides a unique insight into the archives of one of the most influential companies in the early history of America. Through his work much of the invaluable charting of the Dutch West India Company has been saved. It is the first maritime atlas devoted to the Americas. Born in Delfshaven, he went to Middelburg in 1658, an important centre of shipping and commerce. A notable mathematician, his skills extended to surveying and navigation. He wrote a treatise on the appearance of a comet in 1664-65, and even turned his hand to poetry. He became a tutor of navigation to the pilots of both the Dutch West and East India Companies. In 1675 he even applied to be supplied with a ship for a voyage of exploration to the waters of the Pacific Ocean below 15o south. Although granted, the voyage never came to fruition and he died in 1679. However, his son Jacob made a notable voyage in 1721-22 using the same plans.

With his connections at the Dutch West India Company, Roggeveen had access to all of the manuscript charts at their disposal. It must not be presumed that the company’s charts were all their own. Indeed, many were undoubtedly Spanish in origin. In the book Roggeveen tells us that over twenty years he formed a large collection of manuscript charts. Either way much of the knowledge they contained would not have survived to today without Roggeveen-s ‘Het Brandende Veen’. The word ‘Veen’, as well as being part of the author’s name, means ‘fen’ in English. The English translation, ‘The Burning Fen’, refers to the practice of burning peat along the coastline to act as beacons for passing ships, indeed the title page illustrates one. Roggeveen’s work was the first of two parts intended as the fourth and fifth of Pieter Goos’ ‘Zeespiegel’. A Privilege was granted to Goos on 19 March 1668, at which time they were apparently ready. The reason for the delay in publication is unknown, the first part relating to America did not appear until 1675. Goos died in 1675 and the business passed to his widow who herself died in 1677.

This is one of the much larger scale charts included in Arent Roggeveen’s ‘Het Brandende Veen’. This is the first and only Dutch sea chart of Cape Cod and is of legendary rarity on the open market. The map in terms of nomenclature is out of date, bearing old English and Dutch names, most noticeably still utilising ‘NIEUW HOLLAND’ for Cape Cod. The latest identified are ‘Rood Eyland’ and ‘Baÿ Nassau’, both being introduced on Joannes Janssonius’ ‘BELGII NOVI …’ first published in 1651. The map is, however, copiously full of navigational detail. There is an extensive network of shoals and depth soundings depicted, something that must have been greatly appreciated by the pilots of the day for whom these waters were of notorious danger. Even safe anchorage’s around Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are identified. This map is drawn on the same scale as the following although they do not neatly line up. Together they form an incredibly detailed picture of the southern New England coastline, and an insight into just how much knowledge the Dutch possessed” (Burden). Burden (1996-2007) no. 448; Koeman (1967B70) IV Rog 1 no. 31/ McCorkle (2001) no. 675.2; A. E. Nordenskiöld Collection (1979) no. 247.

Pascaert van NIEU NEDERLAND Van Hendrick Christiaens Eÿland tot Staten hoeck of Cabo Cod

Amsterdam, 1675
410 x 510 mm., in very good condition.
Stock number: 7335


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