1666 De Wit map of the Duchy of Brabant

Tabula Ducatus Brabantiae continens Marchionatum Sacri Imperii et Dominium Mechliniense. - Main View

1666 De Wit map of the Duchy of Brabant


Theatre of the Eighty Years' War.


Tabula Ducatus Brabantiae continens Marchionatum Sacri Imperii et Dominium Mechliniense.
  1666 (dated)     18.25 x 21.5 in (46.355 x 54.61 cm)     1 : 300000


This is Frederic De Wit's 1666 map of the Duchy of Brabant, in present-day Netherlands and Belgium. Oriented to the west-north-west, the map embraces the lands from Rotterdam to Namur, extending to include part of western Germany. The Meuse River provides the limits for the bottom and right-hand portions. The map is exceedingly well detailed, including the cities of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Liege, Brussels, Bergen op Zoom, Venlo, and Maastricht along with countless smaller towns. It includes rich topographical detail showing forests and wetlands, with a great many roads included. There is an attractive cartouche featuring the Lion of Brabant; the scale cartouche is embellished with putto playing with a surveyor's compass.
A Bitter Battleground, After the Peace
The Duchy of Brabant had been fought over between the Spain and the Netherlands throughout the course of the Eighty Years' War; the map shows the region as matters stood after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia which left the northern portions of the Duchy in the hands of the Netherlands, and the southern parts as part of the Spanish Netherlands, now modern-day Belgium.
Publication History and Census
De Wit's original engraving was done around 1666, the map being included in his atlases. We are aware of at least one further state, added to later editions of the De Wit atlas, with the date '1666' burnished out. The map is well represented in institutional collections.


Frederik de Wit (1629 - 1706) was a Dutch Golden Age cartographer active in the second half of the 17th and the early 18th centuries. De Wit was born of middle class Protestant stock in the western Netherlandish town of Gouda. He relocated to Amsterdam sometime before 1648, where he worked under Willem Blaeu. His first attributed engraved map, a plan of Haarlem for Antonius Sanderus' Flandria Illustrata, was issued around this time. He struck out on his own in 1654. The first chart that De Wit personally both drew and engraved was most likely his 1659 map of Denmark, REGNI DANIÆ Accuratissima delineatio Perfeckte Kaerte van ‘t CONJNCKRYCK DENEMARCKEN. His great wall map of the world and most famous work, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula appeared one year later. Following the publication of his wall map De Wit quickly rose in prominence as a both cartographer and engraver. He married Maria van der Way in 1661 and through her became a citizen of Amsterdam in 1662. Around this time he also published his first major atlas, a composite production ranging in size from 17 to over 150 maps and charts. Other atlases and individual maps followed. In 1689 De Wit was granted at 15 year Privilege by the Dutch States General. The Privilege was a kind of early copyright that protected his exclusive rights to print and publish his maps. He was recognized with the honorific 'Good Citizen' in 1694. De Wit died in 1706 after which his wife Maria continued publishing his maps until about 1710. Though De Wit did have a son, Franciscus, he had no interest in the map trade, being a prosperous stockfish merchant. Instead, on her own retirement, Maria sold most De Wit maps and plates at a public auction. Most were acquired by Pieter Mortier and laid the groundwork for the 1721 rise of Covens and Mortier, the largest Dutch cartographic publishing house of the 18th century. Learn More...


Average. Margin reinstated at top center. A few areas of surface scuffing with minor loss, mat burn to margins. Original hand color.


Rumsey 12220.103 (1682). OCLC 39104335. Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Wit 8.