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3-CD Set of 17th Century Maps
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Shipping Weight: 1.00 pounds

Price: $29.95

17th Century Maps (3-CD Set)

17th Century Maps CD (3-CD Set)

Would you like to see some of the most beautiful maps ever produced, and examine some breathtaking prints from master artists? These CDs have it all!

This astonishing collection of over 300 historic maps from the 17th century is rare and unique in its content, range, antiquity, clarity and beauty. It offers you the distinct advantage of examining these masterpieces at your own convenience, without having to step out of your home!

The maps on these CDs were prepared by master cartographers of the 17th century and are truly works of art. You will also witness the invaluable contributions of publishers such as Nicolaas Visscher and Joan Blaeu to the preservation of these masterpieces.

The 17th century was probably the most important period in the making of modern Europe. It was during this time that Galileo and Newton founded modern science. It was also a time when cartographers drew inspiration from explorers and with the help and vision of publishers produced outstanding maps of Europe and the rest of the world in a manner that was more refined than ever before.

The 17th century witnessed the birth of colonization, with several countries competing for wealth and power in America and Asia. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and others, all struggled to maintain and extend colonies and trading posts in distant corners of the globe. This also necessitated the mapping of new sea routes and hence new lands that had earlier been ignored by mapmakers.

It is not surprising therefore, that the names of so many cartographers, printers and publishers appear in the history of the 17th century. One man to whom we owe a great debt for his incredible contribution to the publishing of maps is Joan Blaeu, the eldest son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu. It was under the control of Joan that the Blaeu printing press achieved lasting fame by moving towards the printing of maps and expanding to become the largest printing press in Europe in the 17th century.

Until the late 1620s, the Mercator maps published by Jodocus Hondius II dominated the European market for world atlases. However, following the latter's death in 1629, and the growing competition in publishing sea charts and pilot books, the Blaeu business seized its opportunity to publish a grand world atlas: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Atlas novus which was priceless in terms of its exhaustive contents.

Sample thumbnails taken from the collection. Click on image to view larger picture.

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Volume 1 : This CD represents a rare collection of maps from the 17th century. While a majority of these maps depict European countries such as France, Sweden and Denmark, you also get a global perspective of the world as it was in the 17th century through some fabulous engravings of the North and South poles, parts of Africa, Asia and the two American continents.

These maps, the work of such noted engravers as Romeyn de Hooghe, were published by some of the biggest names in the business at the time - Joan Blaeu, Johannes de Ram and Nicolaas Visscher to name a few. Clarity, sharp detail and political awareness are the hallmarks of each map.

The CD also includes several outstanding prints depicting historic events such as the march of the victorious Polish King, John III, into Krakow. It is amazing that most of the people who contributed to these maps - as surveyors, engravers and publishers - were Dutchmen.

Volume 2 :
This CD, our second in this set on rare 17th century maps, continues to inform and enthrall through a compilation of works of the leading surveyors, cartographers and publishers of the century. The maps on this CD include those of Belgium, Germany, Holland, China, Africa and America.

An eye for detail is evident in all the surveys and maps, though some of the maps may appear to be inaccurate by today's standards. These errors can, however, be overlooked in the light of the limitations the mapmakers had to face. For instance, the map of the African Continent has inconsistencies due to the absence of surveys.

Inaccessibility of territories such as Turkey also contributed to errors in maps. Included are some amazing prints published by Nicolaas Visscher II. Willem Jansz Blaeu and Nicolas Visscher II published many of the maps you will see on this CD.

Volume 3 :
This CD is a compilation of maps of parts of Europe, South - East Asia, and South America. The maps of several European cities such as Leiden, Rome and Edinburgh are also seen.

The contribution of Cartographers Cornelis Goliath and Georg Marcgraf to the mapping of Brazil is honored on this CD. Some of the maps you will view on this CD were drawn by travelers like the Italian missionary Martino Martini and published by the Dutchman Joan Blaeu. Although these maps may miss on accuracy in parts, they provide good overviews of the political climate of the 17th century.


Modern technology has furnished cartographers with numerous sophisticated tools, which they employ in producing maps of great accuracy and detail. Nearly every square foot of the earth has been surveyed, photographed, studied and mapped.

This was not possible in the 17th century. In addition to the lack of technology, mapmakers had to contend with constant political turmoil and wars which made it difficult to define boundaries. Also, there was a lot territory that had been charted either partially or not at all.

This CD is a compilation of some of the rarest maps from the 17th century, drawn and published by some of the greatest people in the history of map making. It reflects important trends in the history of European cartography.

The significance of these maps transcends the mere representation of international boundaries. They serve as a record of the history of the times and speak of the grit and determination of men who were willing to explore the unexplored and record their findings for the betterment of life.

All the maps - there are more than 300 of them on these CDs- are hand drawn to perfection and are exquisite in their presentation. The use of subtle hues to demark regions and boundaries adds clarity and beauty to the maps and prints. Many of these maps were intended to be wall hangings and have stunningly beautiful border decorations.

Mapmakers of the 17th century drew on several technological advancements that began in the 15th century. The introduction of movable-type printing by Johann Gutenberg and the introduction of engraved copper plates for printing maps were two such innovations that added detail to these maps as never before. This is clearly seen in the detail that characterizes each map on these CDs.

History owes a great deal to explorers such as Martino Martini and Johan Nieuhoff, cartographers like Cornelis Goliath and publishers like Juan Blaeu and Romeyn Hooghe. The contribution of Dutchmen to mapmaking in the 17th century- as evidenced on these CDs - is astounding and needs to be applauded.

I personally enjoyed examining the prints that are a part of these CDs. The depiction of Jerusalem and the triumphant entry of King John III into Krakow are delightful as are the rest of the prints. The detailed history and credits that accompany each map and print make it easy for anybody to appreciate and value the presentations.

The lack of accuracy in some of the maps can be overlooked considering the fact that detailed data was not always available to cartographers in those times.

These CDs are informative and educational while being pleasingly entertaining in their own way. If you are a history buff, a collector of rare and historic CDs or have a passing interest in maps, this is one set of CDs you will want to own!


"These CDs helped me to examine the exploration and mapping of the world in the seventeenth century when the first European explorers gained and expanded their knowledge of the world. Never before have I had access to so such a wealth of information at the press of a key. These maps depict not only boundaries but also the topography of the area in great detail. Mountains, lakes and rivers are displayed prominently and this helped me in identifying some of the countries, as we know them today. Although I am not a student of either cartography or geography, I found the contents of these CDs to be charmingly informative and would not hesitate one bit to recommend them to libraries and collectors of historic CDs."
Customer's Name: Mary Osborne (Richmond, Virginia)

"Few men have attained the respect, admiration, and degree of excellence achieved by Joan Baeu whose lifetime contribution to the collection and publication of maps in the 17th century has few parallels. Although some accuse him of "borrowing" from the works of other, lesser-known publishers, you cannot deny his role in educating the world with his matchless reproductions." "By now you would have guessed that I am a great fan of Baeu's, and I was delighted to find so many of the maps published by him on these CDs. It must have taken a great deal of searching to find these maps and put them in highly decorated atlases in an era when communication was slow and difficult. Hats off to all those men who labored over each map to make it a masterpiece and to the guys at a2zcds.com for presenting these masterpieces on a single set of CDs."
Customer's Name: Harold Jenson (Sanford, Maine)

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