Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Descriptio Insulae S. Helenae, / Sancta Helena

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Article ID AF0405
Artist Bertius (1565-1629)
Petrus Bertius (1565 -1629) was a Flemish theologian, historian, geographer and cartographer, He grew up in Beveren (Flanders). In 1593 he was appointed mathematics professor and librarian of the University of Leyden. His main cartographic work includes a miniature world atlas of 1600, a pocket atlas of the German Empire of 1616 with 26 engraved maps and 101 city views, a version of the Geographia of Ptolemy with 28 maps by Mercator and 14 maps from the Parergon of Ortelius of 1618, but he is known today as a cartographer with his edition of the Geographia of Ptolemy (based on Mercator's edition of 1578) and for his atlas.
Title Descriptio Insulae S. Helenae, / Sancta Helena
Year ca. 1610
Description Map shows the islend Saint Helena with decorative sea monsters and two inset maps.
Due to its remoteness and cliffs, St. Helena was uninhabited until the 16th century. In 1502 the Portuguese João da Nova landed on the island and named it after Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, as the day it was discovered was her name day. The Portuguese imported fruits and built some houses and a chapel. When they sailed on, they left their sick on the island but did not establish a permanent settlement. The Portuguese kept the island's existence a secret in order to secure its strategic importance. The island's first long-term resident was Fernão Lopes, a Portuguese soldier who had been severely punished by the governor of Goa for treason. On his way back to Portugal in 1516, he left the ship with a stopover on St. Helena and was left alone on the island. He died there around 1546. The first Englishman on the island was Thomas Cavendish, who anchored off St. Helena on 1588 with his ship Desire from the Pacific and stayed for twelve days. He described the island as an "earthly paradise"; from now on it was no longer a secret. James Lancaster arrived on the island in 1591. Around 1600 the Portuguese gave up St. Helena. Immediately afterwards it was occupied by the Dutch. The Dutch occupation lasted until 1651. In 1659 the British East India Company took possession of the island and built the fort (Jamestown) and a garrison. In 1673 the Dutch occupied St. Helena again, but were soon driven out by the English. The company that officially owned the island built large farms on which many blacks and Chinese worked. The wealth of St. Helenas increased, because because of the safe location large amounts of gold were kept and wealthy merchants resided on the island. The island of St. Helena has been a place of exile for heads of state and other personalities, such as Napoleon, the Zulu ruler Dinuzulu ka Cetshwayo, the Boer general Piet Cronjé with his soldiers and Chalid ibn Barghasch, who was ruler of the Sultanate of Zanzibar for a few days in 1896 .
Place of Publication Amsterdam
Dimensions (cm)9,5 x 12
ConditionPerfect condition
Coloringcolored
TechniqueCopper print

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