1599 De Bry Map of Madagascar

Insula de S. Laurety. / Die Insel Madagascar. - Main View

1599 De Bry Map of Madagascar


A 16th century map of Madagascar based on information from the first Dutch expedition to the East Indies.


Insula de S. Laurety. / Die Insel Madagascar.
  1599 (undated)     10.5 x 8.5 in (26.67 x 21.59 cm)


This is a 1599 Theodor de Bry map of Madagascar. The map depicts the entire island from the southwest with the African coast illustrated along the left side. Numerous locations throughout the islands are labeled, as are several smaller islands situated between Africa and Madagascar. Two wind roses appear on either side of Madagascar and the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the island's southern quarter. Four inset maps appear in the maps four corners and illustrate Santa Maria Island, the Coromos Islands, Dantogil Bay, and Saint Augustine Harbor. Nineteen different locations within the inset maps are alphabetically identified and correspond to a key located below the map.
Madagascar and Indian Ocean Piracy
During the 17th and 18th century, Madagascar was a haven for pirates operating in the Indian Ocean. When people think of piracy, the Caribbean immediately springs to mind, with images of pirates attacking Spanish gold convoys off the coast of Florida. This, of course, led to an extremely strang Spanish, French, and British naval presence in the region, which made piracy much more hazardous. Madagascar proved to be a safe haven for pirates because it was close to the trade routes of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, had plentiful sources of produce and fresh water, was inhabited by friendly natives, had sheltered harbors, and was far from European powers, so there were few laws. At one point in the late 1600s had over 1,500 pirates living on Madagascar, and the Ile Saint Marie (depicted in an inset in the upper left corner) was a particularly popular base for pirates. Thomas Tew, Henry Every, and William Kidd are among the infamous buccaneers that sortied from Madagascar.
Publication History
This map was created by Theodor de Bry and published in 1599.


Theodore de Bry (1528 - March 27, 1598) was an important publisher active in the mid to late 16th century. De Bry was born in 1528 in Liege, then a Prince-Bishopric and thus independent of neighboring nations. The De Bry family were accomplished jewelers and copperplate engravers and, following the family tradition, Theodore apprenticed in these fields under his grandfather Thiry de Bry senior (? - 1528), and later under his father, Thiry de Bry junior (1495 - 1590). To avoid growing religious strife in the region Theodore de Bry left Liege for the more tolerant Strasburg. Shortly afterwards, in 1577, he moved again to Antwerp and, in 1580 to London, where he became well known for his engraving skills. It was either in Antwerp or in London that De Bry befriended the English publisher and editor of traveler's tales Richard Hakluyt. Inspired by Hakluyt's work, De Bry began to collect travelers' tales, particularly of voyages to New World. His most prominent acquisition was most likely the letters and papers of the French painter and mapmaker Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues discussing a disastrous attempt by French Huguenots to colonize parts of Florida. Around, 1588 De Bry moved to Frankfurt where he began his own publishing firm. Among De Bry's earliest and most prominent publications are his Grands Voyages, a multivolume compilation of travelers' tales that included the work of Le Moyne as well as some of the earliest published depictions of the North American mainland. The firm also published various other works including an important account of early English attempts to colonize Virginia with illustrations by John White. De Bry died in Frankfurt on March 27, 1598, having never left the shores of Europe, though his name was associated throughout Europe with tales of travel and adventure. Theodore de Bry was succeeded by his son John-Theodore (1560 - 1623) who continued the publishing firm until his own death in 1623. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Even overall toning. Blank on verso.