Tag Archives: handmade paper goods

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 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.

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.

The Stuart Dynasty Attempts to Regain the British Throne

uk vintage map

Map of the British Isles, 1744.

In 1747, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland were under the reign of King George II. A couple of years before this map was printed, the Jacobite Rising took place in 1745. The uprising was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, to restore the Stuart dynasty to the British throne.

The atmosphere of this event is well described in Walter Scott’s novel “Waverley” and Diane Cavaldon’s popular “Outlander” series.

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Java under Dutch Control

java antique map reproduction

Map of the Island of Java, 1700

In 1700, Java was part of a Dutch colony that had been administered through the Dutch East India Company (VOC) for almost one hundred years. The VOC controlled much of the spice trade in the area of what is today Indonesia and beyond that. Batavia (today known as Jakarta) was established as the VOC headquarters in 1619. Based on agreements with the native kingdoms on Java, only Dutch ships were allowed to trade in the archipelago and so the VOC became the dominant ruler in the area. The Dutch sent close to a million people to Indonesia in the 17th and 18th centuries to further strengthen its control over the region.

Europe and a wider world, 1415–1715” by the British historian J. H. Parry comprehensively covers the Dutch colonial era in Indonesia.

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

The Pillars of Hercules

old nautical map gibraltar

Nautical Map of the Strait of Gibraltar, 1644.

The Strait of Gibraltar has always been a highly strategic naval passage between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and therefore the subject of many disputes and wars. The name comes from Arabic, meaning Tariq’s mountain, referring to the Muslim commander Tariq ibn Ziyad who conquered the Rock in the early 8th century. In ancient times, the Strait was called The Pillars of Hercules (Columnae Herculis). This refers to the legend of Hercules and his twelve labours. One of these, which included travelling to the most western limits of the world, was to bring the cattle of Geryon to Greece. The title Pillars of Hercules was also included on ancient maps before Gibraltar became the widespread name for the Rock and the nearby Strait from the 8th century onwards.

The travel book, “Pillars of Hercules” by Paul Theroux describes the author’s travels from Gibraltar around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Ceuta, a Spanish territory in Africa, just across from Gibraltar.

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The Sun King’s France

antique map reproduction france

Historical Map of France Depicting the Country during the Rule of Louis XIV., 1760.

This map shows the administrative division of France during the rule of Louis XIV of France, also known also as Louis the Great or The Sun King, who ruled the country between 1643 and 1715. Some of the overseas French colonies of that period and plans of major French cities are also included. Louis XIV is one of the most significant figures in French history, having a strong influence on developments elsewhere in Europe (the War of the Spanish Succession) and overseas (the French colonies).

His personal life was as turbulent as his life as a statesman and is fully described in Antonia Fraser’s “Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King”.

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

Antarctica Yet To Be Discovered

antarctica vintage map reproduction

Map of the South Pole and the Adjoining Regions, 1803.

Long before Antarctica had been explored as a continent, there was frequent speculation about Terra Australia (Southern Land), a vast landmass located in the very south of the Earth, which balanced the continents in the northern hemisphere.

When circumnavigating the southernmost point of the South American mainland in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan believed that the land he was passing on the left side was actually an extension of the unexplored southern land. In reality, what he actually saw were the islands of Tiera del Fuego, the southernmost part of what is today Argentina. When Australia was discovered at the beginning of the 17th century, it was believed to be part of the Terra Australis. It was Abel Tasman who, about forty years later, proved that Australia was separated from the southern continent by the sea.

Captain James Cook first crossed the Antarctic Circle in 1772. Cook mapped a large part of the Southern Pacific and the Atlantic very well during his voyages and proved that Tiera del Fuego and New Zealand were not one landmass but were separated by the sea — a large ocean. It is now clear that Cook was very close to Antarctica and probably got as close as 240km (150miles) from the continent’s mainland. However, he never landed on its shores nor sighted land, as he was stopped by floating ice on his way further south. This is why this map, printed 30 years after his voyages, still does not depict the continent. Nevertheless, there are four zigzag lines representing Cook’s attempts to discover the southern continent, two of which can be seen within the Antarctic Circle.

Antarctica was finally discovered a couple of years later; the first sighting is documented in 1819 and the first landing documented in 1821.

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