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Willem Blaeu

Aethiopia inferior vel exterior

Partes magis partes magis septentrionales, quae hic desiderantur, vide in tabula Aethiopiae Superioris [Loosely translated title: Aethiopia Inferior or Exterior. The more northern parts can be seen in Aethiopia Superior].   

Published: Joan & Cornelis Blaeu, Amsterdam, c. 1665

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Reserve: $450


Estimate: $600-800

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A French edition of Willem Blaeu's famous map of Southern Africa which was the standard map of the region in the 17th century; it went into many editions 

This map was first issued by William Blaeu in 1635 & this copy is from the French ed. of the 12-volume. atlas (Atlas Maior or Le Grand atlas) published by his sons Johan & Cornelis after his death; the first French edition was published in 1663 & a second in 1667.

The map was extensively copied but these copies are readily distinguished from Blaeu's original map. Blaeu's map is modeled on the ancient geography of Ptolemy. The lake out of which the 'Zambere' (i.e Zambesi) flows is probably based on reports of Lake Ngami, which remained undiscovered by Europeans until 1849; then 20 miles long, today it is only marshland. Europeans had quite good knowledge of the African coast but knew very little about the interior of Africa. This ignorance explains in part why the interior is filled with animals, although few are accurate representations of indigenous animals. 

Willem Jansz. Blaeu c. 1570–1638) was a leading Dutch cartographer and publisher.  He died in 1638 and, therefore, most of his maps were published by his son, Joan who, together with his sons, managed one of the largest printing houses in Europe.

This map of Southern Africa is in fine condition and will be a valued addition to any collection of historical maps of the region. 


Norwich's Maps of Africa, 1997, #154;

Tooley's Collectors' Guide to Maps of Africa ..., 1969 p. 29.Willem BlaeuAmsterdmc. 1640Fine 

  • Overall Condition: Fine
  • Size: 50cm x 38cm
  • Name: Roger Stewart Antiquarian
  • Contact Person: Dr. Roger Stewart
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email:
  • Telephone: +27836541081
  • Preferred Payment Methods: LOCAL: EFT; INTERNATIONAL: PAYPAL or Bank Transfer; no credit cards
  • Trade Associations: IMCOS

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