Manuscript chart of the Indian Ocean, from Cape of Good Hope to Sunda Strait

Joan Blaeu1669

Maritime Museum Rotterdam

Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Rotterdam, Netherlands

For the crossing of the Indian Ocean from the Cape of Good Hope to Sunda Strait, this track chart was on board. At the top left it is signed and dated "1669 By Joan Blaeu". The track chart was necessary to sail from the Cape of Good Hope across the Indian Ocean to Sunda Strait. Initially, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) followed the route of the Portuguese along the African east coast. After 1611, a faster route was prescribed (the so-called 'Brouwer route') that greatly shortened the sailing time. From the Cape of Good Hope, the ships sailed from east to south east via the islands of Amsterdam and St. Paul (the map only shows St. Paul, indicated as "Sa Paulo"). Taking advantage of the westerly winds of the 'Roaring Forties' (between 40 and 50 degrees South latitude), the course was shifted to the northeast to reach Sunda Strait. Sometimes the ships missed St. Paul and sailed too far east. They then ran the chance to end up on the reef-like coast of 'the land of Eendraght' (Australia), shown on the far right of the map. Sometimes this led to a shipwreck, such as that of the 'Batavia' in 1629 and the 'Vergulde Draeck' in 1656. The map also shows east of the Cape of Good Hope the islands of Dina and Maarsseveen, which were discovered in 1663 by the homeward-bounder 'Maarsseveen. Located further to the east is also ''t Nachtegaels Eijlandt'. The chart on vellum belongs to a series of charts purchased in 2006 from Corpus Christi College in Oxford (United Kingdom). Dimensions of the chart (wxh): 96 x 80,5 cm.


  • Title: Manuscript chart of the Indian Ocean, from Cape of Good Hope to Sunda Strait
  • Creator: Joan Blaeu (I)
  • Date Created: 1669

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