Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Canamunt and the Canavall – Majorca’s Romeo and Juliet Story

Map of the Balearic Islands, 1639.

The 17th century was a very turbulent period in the history of the islands. The islanders had to face frequent attacks from Berber and Turkish pirates. In Palma, Majorca’s capital, daily life was strongly influenced by the ongoing conflict between the two noble families, which divided the city into two hostile territories – the Canamunt and the Canavall. The entire story is strikingly reminiscent of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, which was released around the same time. Just like with the Montagues and the Capulets, Nicolau Rossinyol loved Elisabet Anglada, but her family did not approve. The Rossinyols took offence and a battle followed, which resulted into the territory being divided between the two clans. The confrontations sustained over time. In the next phase, alliances were made between the clans and gangs of bandits to strengthen their position and the clashes became more violent. In total, the conflict lasted almost 70 years between 1598 and 1666; however, the banditry persisted until the War of Spanish Succession. Every September 4th, a battle with water guns between the Canamunt and Canavall sides takes place in Palma de Majorca in commemoration of the two opposing sides.

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

Queen Nanny – the Moroon Movement in Jamaica

vintage map reproductions caribbean

Map of the Central America, 1720.

In the 18th century, colonialism and its consequences had fully hit the West Indies with the British, the Dutch, the Spanish and the French carving up the territories in the Caribbean between themselves. Noteworthy events took place in Jamaica around the time this map was released. Between 1655 and 1670, the British took over the control of the island from the Spanish. In this transition period, many former slaves escaped slavery and established free communities inland. They gradually took control over large areas of the Jamaican inland and organised regular raids on the plantations. Conflicts with the British administration followed, known as the First and Second Maroon wars. One of the leaders of the Maroon movement was Queen Nanny. She was born in what is today Ghana, West Africa. After being sold as a slave, she was transported to Jamaica to work on a sugarcane plantation, which was a booming industry in the West Indies around that time. After escaping from the plantation, she founded a Maroon settlement in the mountains called Nanny Town. She was responsible for successfully defending the settlement against the British Army. Thus, she became one of the earliest leaders of slave resistance in the West Indies.

To learn more about Queen Nanny, read Karla Gottlieb’s: “The Mother of Us All: A History of Queen Nanny, Leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons”.

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17th Century – Exploration of Australia

beautiful world map reproduction

Map of the World, 1680.

The map shows that there were still many parts of the world unexplored in 1680. These were some of the islands in the Arctic Ocean (back then called Oceanus Septentrionalis – The Northern Ocean, named after the seven stars of the Big Plough star constellation); also Alaska, Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand.

The most important explorations of Australia took place in the 17th century. The first documented European landing on Australia was in 1606 by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. Ships from the Dutch East India Company continued to explore the Australian coastline over the following years. In the 1640s, the Dutch captain Abel Tasman set out on two voyages; during the first voyage he explored and mapped the Northern coast of the continent that he named New Holland. It is under this name that Australia is shown on this map. During his second voyage, Tasman explored Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land) and New Zealand. The last parts of Australia’s coastline were those most densely populated today: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

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The Special Status of the Isle of Man

antique map reproductions isle of man

Map of the Ilse of Man and the Adjoining Coasts of of Wales, England and Scotland, 1740.

This map is oriented to the west at the top of the map. Until today, the Isle of Man has enjoyed a special relationship with Great Britain. It is not part of the United Kingdom nor is it part of the European Union. Officially, it is a Crown dependency. The Lord of Mann was the titular ruler of the island until 1765, i.e. 25 years after this map was released. In 1765, the Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain purchased the rights of the ruling Atholl family as Lords of Mann including the customs revenues of the Island for the sum of £70,000. Today, the Queen still holds the title Lord of Mann.

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The Maltese Falcon Story

malta antique map reproduction

Map of Malta and Gozo, 1734.

Malta and Gozo were ruled by the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem between 1530 and 1798. After being expelled from its previous base in Rhodes, the Order was given Malta and Gozo together with the North-African town of Tripoli in 1530 as a gift by Emperor Charles V., the King of Sicily. In exchange, the Order had to follow conditions laid down by the King and pay an annual fee of a single Maltese falcon. This tradition persisted throughout the whole period of Malta under the Order of Saint John.

An illustrated book “Knights of Malta, 1523-1798” by Reuben Cohen describes the full history of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and its influence on European events.

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Hevelius and His Research of the Moon’s Surface

old celestial map moon

Map of the Surface of the Moon, 1710.

Published under the official title: Tabula Selenographica. Selenography is a scientific discipline focused on the mapping of the Moon’s surface. This map from the early 18th century is derived from the works of two scientists who stood at the beginning of the modern-era survey of the Moon: Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598-1671), an Italian astronomer who established a system of lunar nomenclature still used today, and the German-Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687).

Hevelius (in Polish Jan Heweliusz), originally from Gdansk and the son of wealthy brewers, was given an excellent education at the University of Leiden. After finishing his studies, he travelled Europe before returning to his hometown where he worked in the city administration. Besides his civil service, he also focused on astronomy, built his private observatory, and studied the heavens passionately. The Moon became his main interest; in 1647, his first work on lunar topography, called “Selenography”, was published, which gave this scientific discipline its name.

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