Amsterdam was the world center of cartography in the 17th century, a period when mapmaking was a flourishing business. Maps of faraway lands had to be updated constantly with new data and details brought back by navigators, merchants and explorers. Published atlases, often very elaborate and richly decorated, were in demand by universities and the nobility.
World maps published before 1650 are becoming familiar to contemporary viewers. Uncharted areas were left as blank spots that were increasingly filled by later versions. The first to unveil this new mapping of the world in its full extent, including the newly discovered coastal areas of Australia (New Holland), was Joan Blaeu, the famous Amsterdam publisher of maps and atlases.
Blaeu produced a gigantic world map in 1648. The original of our facsimile consisted of 12 segments, printed from 11 engraved copperplates. Measuring 194 x 129 cm in total size, it was published c. 1690 by Gerrit or Gerard van Schagen of Amsterdam. In many ways, this map is a close copy of the original world map that Blaeu published in 1648.
The map is dedicated to William III (1650-1702), Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel (1672-1702), and King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689-1702). At this time, the only known original of this spectacular world map is part of the Special Collections Department of the University Library of Amsterdam. AM worked together with the University in creating an exact facsimile.
Map measures 78.7" x 56.7".