This is a collection of sea chartson two DVD-ROMs from the so-called "secret atlas" of the Dutch East India Company. In the age of trade that followed the age of exploration, having accurate charts was essential to carrying on trade with the east, and trade was the lifeblood of nations.
For two centuries, from 1602 to 1799, the Dutch East India Company (VOC: Vereenigde Geoctroieerde Oostindische Compagnie) ruled the waters of Asia and Africa. Accurate charting of these waters was essential for succesful and safe navigation. The VOC had their own mapmaking office. Trade was the lifeblood of nations,especially Holland. Essential information such as depth soundings, locations of reefs, anchorages and the like enabled the captains of these square rigged sailing ships to safely navigate the waters of the far east and bring their cargos of spices and other exotic trade items back to Holland.
During the first 150 years, only secret manuscript charts - two of which are included in this collection - were used, to minimize the risk of spreading the knowledge to competitors. Over those 150 years the knowledge of these waters had gradully leaked out to other European nations and secrecy was of less importance.
From 1753 onwards, the printed atlas was used, with printed charts to navigate the waters from South Africa to Japan. The atlas was produced by Johannes (II) van Keulen, official hydrographer to the VOC, and was officially known as Part VI of the Zee-Fakkel (Sea-Torch). For many regions in Asia and Africa, these printed maps are the best and the only accurate early maps.
Never on the open market, these maps presently are available only through specialized collectors markets and are terrifically expensive to purchase. This digital collection offers the opportunity for historians, scholars and students to access these original charts. The price is such that even someone with a casual interest can have these charts in their library.
With the exception of the two earllier manuscript maps included here, these amazing examples of eighteenth century cartography were engraved on copper plates and printed on heavy paper meant for use at sea. The larger charts consist of six individual scans pieced together into a single image. This is no small achievement given the fact that these maps were made in the era before accurate timekeeping at sea allowed the accurate calculation of longitude and a myriad of rhumb lines and their roses have to be carefully aligned.
No processing, retouching or enhancing has been used. Some of the scan seams are visible due to slight differences in the shading that happens during the scanning process. Most are scanned at 72 dpi. Some are three scans and a few are only a single scan. The quality of the scans is such that when viewed at 100% you can see the "tooth," the roughness, of the paper upon which they are printed.
These maps are on 2 DVD-ROMs and are in jpg and tif formats. The tifs were save with all layers. A cbz file with all the jpg scans is included, along with software to view it. Originally used for digitized comic books, the cbz file is a zip file of jpgs that has had the extension changed to cbz so it will open in the the CDdisplay program. It is a handy way to flip through the maps without having to load each one seperately. Turn off the yellow compensation to see the maps in their true colors. The size and resolution of these scans make it possible to reduce them and print your own very detailed maps.
Reduced sized examples of these fine maps are provided here with examples of 100% zoom views.
Arabia Oman Persia 3548x3043@72 49x42''
Arracam Pegu Siam 3576x3078@72 50x43''
Batavia 4819x4152@72 66x58''
Bengala 4819x4219@72 67x59''
Bombay 4339x3528@72 60x49''
Calcutta 4701x4108@72 65x57''
Chusan Zhejiang 6552x4961@300 21x17''
Chusan 6752x5144@300 23x27''
Coromandel (1) 4067x4737@72 56x66''
Coromandel (2) 1383x3148@72 19x30''
Far East, Australia 4745x4170@72 66x58''
Hong Kong Macao Canton 3609x3132@72 50x44''
Houtman Abrolhos and Swan River 2552x3510@72 35x49''
Houtman Abrolhos and Swan River 3200x346072 44x48''
Lagoa Bay 3510x3320@72 49x46''
Malabar Maldives 4730x4126@72 66x57''
Malaysia Siam Cambodia 3560x3108@72 49x43''
Maldives 6093x7008@72 85''x97''
Manuscript map on vellum - 1728 Noord-Zee, Groot Bestek 2580x2013@72 36x30''
Manuscript map - 1700 - Ceylon 5103x4224@72 71x59''
Mauritius 6387x5046 89x70''
Mauritius Harbor 3485X3519@72 48x49''
Mosambique 7000x6101@72 97x85''
Nagasaki 3280x2478@72 45x34''
Northern China Formosa Japan 4579x4146 70x58''
Penghu (2) (Pescadores) 5888x3538@72 82x49''
Penghu (Pescadores) 2939x1769@72 41x26''
Persian Gulf 3552x3160@72 50x44''
Philippines - Manilla 1755x3002@72
Philippines 3712x3173@72 52x44''
Quemoy (1) 3495x5769@72 50x44''
Quemoy (2) 3510x5870@72 49x82''
Ravenstein 6950x6480@600 12x10''
Red Sea Yemen 3244x2588@72 45x36
Ries Palmers 3504x3396@72 49x47''
Singapore (1) 4094x4689@72 57x65''
Singapore (2) 6122x7108@72 85x99''
South Africa 7042x6184@72 98x86''
Southern China with Hong Kong 3588x3092@72 50x43''
Tafelbaay (Cape of Good Hope) 4571x4002@72 63x55''
These images are free of any copyrights.