Ducatus Breslanus five Wratislavensis
Ducatus Breslanus five Wratislavensis
Map shows the area of Breslau with 4 beautiful cartouches and coat of arms
Joan Guilliemus Blaeu was the eldest son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), and was probably born in Alkmaar in the province of Noord-Holland in the final years of the 16th century. He was brought up in Amsterdam, and studied law at the University of Leiden before going into partnership with his father in the 1630s. Although his father Willem had cartographic interests, having studied under the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and having manufactured globes and instruments, his primary business was as a printer. It was under the control of Joan that the Blaeu printing press achieved lasting fame by moving towards the printing of maps and expanding to become the largest printing press in Europe in the 17th century. By the 1660s the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (or Atlas Maior as it had became known by this time) had expanded to between 9 and 12 volumes, depending on the language. With over 3,000 text pages and approximately 600 maps, it was the most expensive book money could buy in the later 17th century. The translation of the text from Latin into Dutch, English, German, French, and Spanish for several volumes created enormous work for those involved in typography and letterpress activities. It is estimated that over 80 men must have been employed full-time in the Blaeu printing house in Bloemgracht, not including engravers who worked elsewhere, with over 15 printing presses running simultaneously, and in 1667 a second press was acquired at Gravenstraat. At the same time as producing the Atlas Maior, Blaeu was also publishing town plans of Italy, maps for globes, and other volumes. At its peak the Blaeu press managed to produce over 1 million impressions from 1,000 copper plates within four years.
Silesia is a region in Central Europe on both sides of the upper and middle reaches of the Oder and extends in the south along the Sudetes and Beskids. Most of Silesia lies in what is now Poland. A small part in the west of Lower Silesia belongs to East Germany, a southern part of Upper Silesia to the Czech Republic. Between 1289 and 1292, Bohemian king Wenceslaus II became suzerain of some of the Upper Silesian duchies. Polish kings had not renounced their hereditary rights to Silesia until 1335. The province became part of the Bohemian Crown under the Holy Roman Empire, and passed with that crown to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In the 15th century, several changes were made to Silesia's borders. Parts of the territories which had been transferred to the Silesian Piasts in 1178 were bought by the Polish kings in the second half of the 15th century. From 1526 to 1742 the Habsburgs, as kings of Bohemia, were also dukes of Silesia. Almost all of Silesia became Protestant in the 16th century. Well-known Silesian reformers were among others Johann Heß and Caspar von Schwenckfeld, whose theology was invoked by the Schwenkfeldians, who were represented in Silesia until the 17th century. After the First Silesian War it was agreed in the preliminary peace of Breslau (1742) that Austria had to cede Lower and Upper Silesia to the Oppa as well as the Bohemian County of Glatz to Prussia. Frederick the Great was able to defend this acquisition in the Second Silesian War and also in the Third Silesian War (1756 to 1763). A smaller part of Upper Silesia around Troppau, Jägerndorf, Teschen and Bielitz as well as the southern part of the Principality of Neisse, which belongs to Lower Silesia (= the political district of Freiwaldau until 1938) remained as Austrian Silesia (officially: "Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia") until 1918 of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. First (until 1782) as part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then (until 1849 and 1860–1861) Moravia. According to a decree of March 4, 1849, all peoples of the Austrian Empire, including Silesians, were given equal rights.
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