Monthly Archives: February 2018

Algiers – the Hub of the Barbary Pirates

algiers antique map reproduction

Map of the City of Algiers, 1575.

Algiers was an important hub in 16th century North Africa. The part of the Ottoman Empire covering what is today Algeria, Tunisia and Libya was governed from Algiers. Piracy and raiding were popular activities of the Algerian rulers at this time and they organised numerous slave-hunting expeditions to the Western Mediterranean. Large populations were affected, namely on the islands of Gozo, Lipari, and Corsica. Several decades later, the coastal regions of Spain and Portugal also became a target of the Barbary pirates’ raids. These slave-hunting expeditions eventually reached as far as Iceland in 1627. The famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes spent five years as a slave in Algiers. He was captured together with the rest of the galley crew while in their way from Naples to Barcelona.

The Barbary Pirates 15th–17th centuries” by pirate expert Angus Kunstam and illustrated by Gerry Embleton is a great introduction to the era of piracy in the 17th century Mediterranean.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

The Golden Age of Lisbon

vintage map reproduction lisboa

Map of the City of Lisbon, 1598.

The 16th century was the Golden era in Lisbon’s history. It was a starting point for many voyages of discovery and trade including those of Vasco de Gamma and Bartolomeu Dias. Their voyages and many that followed established many colonies and trading posts overseas. Circumnavigation of Africa opened up cheaper and faster transport of exotic goods from the Far East to Europe. Thus, Lisbon as a gateway to the newly discovered routes gained exclusive access to sources of products from the Indian subcontinent (spices, diamonds) and also from Africa (cotton fabrics, spices), Brazil (sugar), the Moluccas (spices) and China (porcelain, silk). The goods were further traded to the rest of Europe. This amount of trade made Lisbon one of the biggest, richest and most important cities in Europe and at that time, around 150 000 people lived in the city in late 16th century.

This era in Portuguese history is well documented in “Portuguese voyages 1498–1663 – tales from the Age of Discovery” by C.D. Ley (Editor).

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

Riccioli – the Founder of Modern Lunar Nomenclature

vintage map poster moon

Map of the Moon’s Surface, 1742.

Published under the official title: Tabula Selenographica. Selenography is a scientific discipline focused on mapping the Moon’s surface. This early 18th-century map is derived from the works of two scientists who stood at the forefront of the modern-era survey of the Moon: the German-Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, a founder of modern day lunar topography, and Giovanni Battista Riccioli.

As religion and science were close disciplines in the 17th century, Riccioli was a Jesuit priest with a strong interest in astronomy. He received theological education and besides theology, he was later officially assigned to also focus his professional career on astronomy. He was based in Bologna where he founded an observatory and was the first scholar to describe the constant acceleration of falling bodies. Moreover, he created a system of lunar nomenclature that is still used today. The Sea of Tranquillity, the area where man first set foot on the Moon in 1969, was named by Riccioli.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

The World Map Showing Some Important Exploratory Voyages

beautiful world map poster

Map of the World, 1720.

This is a map overflowing with information. Some of the most important geophysical and climatic phenomena are described in the bottom part with specific descriptions and examples of volcanoes, earthquakes, ocean currents, vortices, winds, rains and rainbows. The unexplored areas of western Canada and Alaska together with the Canadian islands in the Arctic Ocean and the Northern Coast of Greenland are called Terra Esonis; this was a mythical land, similar to Terra Incongita Australis in the Southern Hemisphere. Tasmania bears its first name after being explored by Abel Tasman: (Van) Diemen’s Land. The name was only changed to Tasmania in 1856, more than 200 years after Tasman landed on its shores in 1642. The most recognised sea voyages are marked on this map; besides Tasman’s sailing, there are also the voyages of Ferdinand Magellan and Fernao de Lorinha marked on this map. The two smaller circles show the Star Constellation of the north and south skies.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

The Ferro Meridian

grrenland iceland antique map reproduction

Map of Greenland and Iceland, 1770.

Passages from east to west Greenland are charted. The Ferro Meridian which was used in the history as a Prime Meridian crosses Iceland. It was established based on the longitude of the island of El Hierro, the westernmost island of the Canary Islands. Already since the era of Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.) the Canary Islands were considered the westernmost land of the known World. The Greenwich Prime Meridian was established by English astronomer and mathematician Sir George Biddell Airy in 1851. The Prime Meridian used today is the International Reference Meridian which passes approx 102m of the Greenwich Royal Observatory.

Authobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy” includes birth story of the Greenwich Prime Meridian.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

The Beauty of Old Celestial Maps

The Moon, Planets, Stars… The Old Maps depict the Heavens in a stunning way, check them out by clicking at the poster below:-)

illustrated celestial maps

The Cape Verde in the 18th Century

cape verde vintage map reproduction

Map of the Cape Verde Islands, 1746.

Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony and an important supply station for the whalers and the slave traders’ ships on their way to and from America. In 1680, the eruption of Pico del Fogo, the archipelago’s largest volcano, resulted in the movement of the population within the islands. In 1712, the French Navy Captain Jacques Cassard raided and destroyed Ribeira Grande, the original capital of the archipelago and caused yet another migration of the population within a relatively short period of time. As a consequence of these two events, Praia became the new capital of Cape Verde from 1770 onwards. Both Riberia Grande and Praia, the old and new capital, are depicted on this map. Due to the frequent famines in the mid-18th century that were caused by a series of droughts, thousands of people starved to death. The remaining population was a mix of Portuguese settlers and slaves originally from West Africa. Cape Verdean Creole evolved as a mixture of the Portuguese and West African languages.

The history of Cape Verde is narrated in Richard A. Loban Jr’s “Cape Verde: Crioulo Colony to Independent Nation”.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

All the Beauty of the World

In our February focus, we present antique World maps in our catalogue:

1) World: Vintage Map Art, 1633

old world map poster

antique map of the world

Australia and Antarctica were not yet fully explored at the time this map was first printed and are shown here as “Terra Incognita” and “Unknown land”. The illustrations in the corners in the map represent the four elements: water, earth, air and fire.

2) World: Vintage Map Poster, 1680

historical world map

Beautiful World Map with rich illustrations.

3) World: Old Map Poster, 1720

antique world map poster










old world map

The heavens with a description of various geophysical and climatic phenomena are depicted on this map.

4) World: Beautiful Old Map Print, ca 1705-1730

beautiful world map poster









old map of the world

Five climatic zones (two cold, two mild and one warm around the equator) are shown. The main maritime routes are also marked. In the first half of the 18th century, exploration of Australia was still underway and it was believed that it was a part of Terra Incognita, a land located in what is now Antarctica. This map is accompanied by a list of selected countries in America, Africa, Europe and Asia and their capital cities are listed. Furthermore, the most frequent geographical terms are defined.

5) World: Antique Map Reproduction, ca 1750

old map of the world










vintage world map poster

Various solar system ideas are depicted on this World map.

6) World: Vintage Map, 1770

antique world wall map










beautiful world map

The World is shown in several projections.

7) World: Vintage Map Print, 1786

antique map of the world










world old map

This French map of the world from 1786 depicts all three recent voyages of Captain James Cook and his crew.

8) The World in a Set of Six Maps, 1803

wolrd vintage map

The set consists of:

Map of the South Pole and the surrounding regions of South America, New Zealand and Tasmania, 1803.The continent of Antarctica had not yet been confirmed in 1803; the first documented landing on Antarctica took place in 1821.

Map of the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding regions of Europe, Asia and America, 1803.

Map of the Pacific Ocean and the North-West of America, 1803.

Map of America, 1803.

Map of the African continent and the neighbouring regions of the Middle East and Southern Europe, 1803.

Map of Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Australia, 1803. The coastline of Australia had not been fully explored and mapped in 1803. The first complete chart of the Australian coastline was mapped by Matthew Flinders in 1810.

The Establishment of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s New Cultural Centre

antique map reproduction of russia

Map of Eastern and Northern Europe, 1711.

Under Peter the Great, who ruled between 1682 and 1725, Russia underwent a thorough transition into an Empire of global importance. Tsar Peter visited Western Europe, which inspired him to introduce new standards into Russian society. One of the large projects he designed was the foundation of Saint Petersburg, a new city named after him. The need to have a seaport that would enable better access to the West was the reason he founded the city in 1703. The city was built by serfs from all over Russia and it quickly became the showpiece and cultural centre of the Empire. On this map from 1711, only eight years after Saint Petersburg had been founded, the city is already indicated with “Nouvelle ville” (New City). In 1712, it became the capital of Russian Tsardom, later an Empire.

The life of the tsar is fully covered in the biography “Peter the Great: his Life and World” by Robert K. Massie.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.