Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Hessel Gerritsz on Cabo Verde Islands. Translation scheduled

In 1629 Hessel Gerritsz (ca 1582-1632) made a routebook ('roteiro') for the Dutch West India Company (WIC). Strategic information for securing Brazil. The Dutch were eagerly after the yields of sugar cane from the Portuguese. 

Right in the middle of Europe and Brazil are the Cabo Verde Islands located. For the Dutch, both for the VOC and WIC, the place for (re)grouping ships and stocking fresh supplies.

A part of this routebook, around 80 pages, is about the Cabo Verde Islands. All the islands are described in detail: defence systems, population and slaves, where to dock, fruit etcetera. Including maps of the islands.

The manuscript is never published or translated. I want to unlock this document - this treasure house - for humanity. In one book: copy of manuscript, typoscript in old Dutch, translation in modern Dutch, translation in Portuguese and translation in English. Nice and important puzzle to solve :)

Ben Teensma already made the typoscript in old Dutch and translation in Portuguese. I have to add the translation in modern Dutch and English. And get it published! In an e-book?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Os Holandeses (part 1)

Three "encounters" of Dutch (in Portuguese 'Holandeses') with Others living on the Cabo Verde Islands. (i) In 1598 five Dutch ships of Balthazar de Moucheron plunder Ribeira Grande on island Santiago. (ii) In 1627 Dutch crewman were driven from island Maio.
 Source: Arnold van Wickeren 'Geschiedenis van Portugal en de Portugezen overzee', 
deel 13 (2008). Translation from Dutch into English (c) J.D.

(iii) In 1628 admiral Adriaen Jansz Pater, on his way to Brazil for the 'Dutch West India Company' (in Dutch 'WIC' or 'West-Indische Companie'), attacked island Santiago without success. 
Source: A. Teixeira da Mota 'Cinco Séculos de Cartografia das Ilhas de Cabo Verde' (1961). Translation from Portuguese into English (c) J.D.

One more track to follow: the two manuscripts of Hessel Gerritsz with 52 sketches :)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Pretty Reliable

Between 1468 and 1480 Benincasa made 9 atlases with maps in it with the Cabo Verde Islands on them. A few weeks ago I learned that one of them is in color. This week I learned that two more are in color too. Now I want to have a copy of all nine maps. I guess they are all in color. I want to compare them and find out how accurate they are.

According to Roel Nicolai (moreportolan charts are based on a mathematical model which closely resembles the Mercator projection and not on the input of observations of seaman coming back from their travels. The maps were first. Out of the blue as far as we can tell now.

Today I puzzled at the G. Benincasa 1473 'Egerton 2855' map.

(C) The British Library Board, G. Benincasa 1473, Egerton MS 2855 ff.6v-7

Conclusion. The distances on this 541 year old map are pretty reliable: average 119% with a standard deviation of 35. 

What's next? I want to find out if the maps improve in time. Are the maps of 1480 more reliable than of 1468? In other words, projection first - out of the blue - and then the maps get better every year because the input of the seaman, returning from the sea, was digest by the mapmaker G. Benincasa?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Benincasa 1468 and 1469. Four Most Important Maps

According to Cortesão in his 'History of Portuguese Cartography', Volume II (1971) the four maps from G. Benincasa made in 1468 and 1469 are the "most important".  Because on them "for the first time" the Cape Verde Islands are "represented" and the African coast reaches a little beyond Cape Mesurado.

Cortesão's subscription on map 1 (fig. 83) and 4 (fig 84):

Details of the four maps.

1. Benincasa 1468. British Library (London) Add MS 6390


Full map. Source: Garcia de Orta, 'Cinco seculos de cartografia das ilhas de Cabo Verde', A. Teixeira da Mota (1961) and Cortesão, 'History of Portuguese Cartography', Volume II (1971)

Detail with Cabo Verde Islands:

Owners: (1) unknown (2) Principe di Trabia e Butera (3) Otto Schäfer (4) H.P. Kraus (5) British Rail Pension Fund (6) unknown (7) unknown. More on this map in my blog 'Islands in Blue, Red, Gold Leaf and Green'.


Full map. Source: Garcia de Orta, 'Cinco seculos de cartografia das ilhas de Cabo Verde', A. Teixeira da Mota (1961)

Detail with Cabo Verde Islands:

3. Benincasa 1469. British Library (London) ADD MS 31315


Full map:
Not found yet

Detail with Cabo Verde Islands:
Not found yet

4. Benincasa 1469. Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milano) SP2, 35


Full map. Source: Garcia de Orta, 'Cinco seculos de cartografia das ilhas de Cabo Verde', A. Teixeira da Mota (1961) and Cortesão, 'History of Portuguese Cartography', Volume II (1971)

Detail with Cabo Verde Islands:

Friday, 7 November 2014

Hennig on Cabo Verde islands

Richard Hennig writes in his 'Terrae Incognitae, band IV' (1956) on the Cabo Verde islands. It's a book in German. In German these islands are called 'Kapverdische Inseln'. Here a scan of all the relevant pages.


Title page

Index on 'Kapverdische Inseln'

Main chapter (180) on the discovery ('entdeckung') of the first ('ersten') Cabo Verde islands. Page 163 - 184:

Main chapter (184) on the discovery ('entdeckung') of the western ('westlichen') Cabo Verde islands. Page 207 - 211:

Page 53 - 54 Green Islands ('Grünen Inseln') are not Cabo Verde islands. Seen by arabic sailors ('arabische seefahrer')

Page 112 'Salt-island' ('Salzinseln') is island Arguin and not Cabo Verde island Sal

Page 139 - 146 Oldest map with Cabo Verde on them is from Benincasa in 1468

Page 160 Cadamosto discovers the Cabo Verde islands after a storm

Page 196 The portuguese King gives a non-existing island to his sister Donna Britiz

Page 201 -202 Copper- or Stonepillars in the ocean

Page 366 - 367 Spanish relationships ('kastilische Beziehungen') to Cabo Verde islands

Link to a document (PDF) with the pages above in one document: here. Handy for reading on an e-reader or tablet.