( NOTE: IMAGE SHOWN IS NOT THE MAP WE HAVE FOR SALE, SCAN OF THE CHART OFFERED BY INDIES GALLERY WILL BE UPLOADED SOON ) email us to receive images.
Extremely rare and detailed chart of Batavia and surroundings. This rare collector's map was published only in the secret atlas of the Dutch East India Company, for internal use. No doubt the very best and most detailed early chart of Batavia and surroundings, which probably never will come on the market again as all known copies are owned by libraries and institutions.
Van Keulen’s Secret VOC Atlas,
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 successful and safe navigation. The VOC had their own mapmaking office. During the first 150 years, only secret manuscript charts were used, to minimize the risk of leaking knowledge to competitors.
From 1753 onwards, a 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). The atlas is known as the secret atlas because it was not sold and only used by VOC ships. For these reasons it is extremely rare, and only a few examples have survived. In addition, the number of charts in the atlas is often limited because ships that did not sail to India/Ceylon or China/Formosa/Japan were given restricted versions of the atlas that did not contain the charts of these areas.
There was a variety of reasons to publish the charts in print:
- Printed maps were more accurate and less prone to errors than manuscript copies.
- Loose maps were impractical and sometimes lost despite the strict policies of use.
- Last but not least, printed maps were cheaper to (re-)produce than manuscript maps.