Insularum Moluccarum nova Discriptio

Historical important map showing the famous Spice Islands in Maluku Indonesia. The islands shown are; Ternale, Tidore, Timor, Machian, Bachian and the coast of Gilolo. The map is decorated with two beautiful cartouches, vulcanos, sea monsters, European and local sailing vessels. Each of the islands is shown with groves of the prized clove and nutmeg trees and the location of their protective fortresses.

The islands were known as the Spice Islands due to the nutmeg, mace and cloves that were originally exclusively found there, the presence of which sparked colonial interest from Europe in the 16th century.

The map is based on the islands described by Jan Huyghen van Linschoten. This map was the first large scale map of the region and depicts the islands which provided first the Portuguese, and then the Dutch with a monopoly on the lucrative spice trade.

This almost 400 year old map was published in Amsterdam in the year 1638 by the famous Johannes Janssonius.

Johannes Janssonius (Jansson)(1588- 1664) Amsterdam, was born in Arnhem, the son of Jan Janszoon the Elder, a publisher and bookseller. In 1612 he married Elisabeth de Hondt, the daughter of Jodocus Hondius. He produced his first maps in 1616 of France and Italy. In 1623 Janssonius owned a bookstore in Frankfurt am Main, later also in Danzig, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Königsberg, Geneva and Lyon. In the 1630s he formed a partnership with his brother in law Henricus Hondius, and together they published atlases as Mercator/Hondius/Janssonius. Under the leadership of Janssonius the Hondius Atlas was steadily enlarged. Renamed Atlas Novus, it had three volumes in 1638, one fully dedicated to Italy. 1646 a fourth volume came out with ""English County Maps"", a year after a similar issue by Willem Blaeu. Janssonius' maps are similar to those of Blaeu, and he is often accused of copying from his rival, but many of his maps predate those of Blaeu and/or covered different regions. By 1660, at which point the atlas bore the appropriate name ""Atlas Major"", there were 11 volumes, containing the work of about a hundred credited authors and engravers. It included a description of ""most of the cities of the world"" (Townatlas), of the water world (Atlas Maritimus in 33 maps), and of the Ancient World (60 maps). The eleventh volume was the Atlas of the Heavens by Andreas Cellarius. Editions were printed in Dutch, Latin, French, and a few times in German.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Ternate and Tidore cloves and mace spice islands
Publication Place / Date
Image Dimensions
Amsterdam / 1638
60 by 50 cm.
Hand coloring
G+ / Study image carefully
Product Price
Product Number
SKU #M.0246

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