Sancta Helena, Langenes, 1598

Two years after the publication of Linschoten's Itinerario, the first map of St. Helena appeared in 1598 in a miniature world atlas, the Caert-Thresoor, inhoudende de tafelen des gantsche Werwlts Landen, met beschryvingen verlicht ... nu alles van nieus ... toegereet by Barent Langenes, published in Middelburg. Part two of the Caert-Thresoor has a brief description of St. Helena (which is a condensed version of Linschoten's text) accompanied by a small map titled Sancta Helena (size 120 by 85 mm; reproduced above). The plates for the first edition of the Caert-Thresoor were engraved by Pieter van den Keere.

The map shows a not unreasonable representation of the outline of St. Helena. The map was evidently derived from a Portuguese source as locations on the island are named in (somewhat corrupted) Portuguese. Of the identifiable locations named on the map, Moro grosso (big hill) is Sugar Loaf, Ylheo quadrato (square islet) is George Island, Yas dos Gatos (Islands of the Cats?) are Egg Island and Peaked Island, and Ribiera q'vein do pamar (stream coming from the orchard) and Pomar (orchard) probably refer to Shark's Valley and the presence of an orchard at the head of the valley. Agoada velha (old watering place for ships) is Rupert's Bay (implying that originally the Portuguese watered at Rupert's before subsequently adopting James Valley; see also Linschoten's view), B. de S. Elena is James Bay, and Aq' surgem em (here becomes visible the cross) most probably refers to a navigational marker used to indicate the anchorage in James Bay. Other indicated locations are rather more generic; Alberta and Abertas indicates a bay and bays (alberta being a mis-spelling of aberta), Ribiera dagoa indicates a stream, and Legoa indicates a lagoon or pool. Some references are made to water depth and anchorages; Aqui nao ha fundo (here we cannot reach the bottom) and Aqui naon acham fundo (here no bottom is found) both refer to the northern coast of the island, and Aqui podem surgir (here one is able to anchor) indicates an anchorage off Horse Pasture Point. The translation and origin of some of the other named locations is equivocal: Paon da Sucar is Sugar Loaf but it is not clear to which topographic feature at the southeastern end of the island this refers (perhaps Joan Hill?); P. de esparavel possibly is translated as Point of the casting net and may refer to a fishing ground off Saddle Point. The upper left and right corners of the plate have profiles of the west and north sides, respectively, of the island derived from Linschoten's views.

British Library shelfmark: Maps.39.a.2.
Library of Congress call number: Not in the catalogue


Last updated: 19 December, 2011


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