Leen Helmink Antique Maps

South Africa by Blaeu




AETHIOPIA inferior vel exterior


Amsterdam, 1635


38.5 x 50.0 cms


Copper engraving

Stock number





$ 1250


"This handsome map of southern Africa features an appropriate decorative cartouche in the right lower corner with the title displayed on an ox skin held up by an African on either side. [...]. The map covers an area from Congo-Zanzibar to the Cape. It was published before Van Riebeeck settled at the Cape, and such knowledge of South Africa as cartographers had was based on Portuguese exploration, travellers' tales and rumours about the interior, which were used to fill in the blank spaces on the maps. This was a standard map throughout the seventeenth century and it went into many editions, and was copied by other publishers."


"Considered to be the finest map of Southern Africa of its time; much copied by other publishers until the end of the seventeenth century. Continued use of Portuguese names on the coastline betrays the map's origins from the old nautical charts used by the early explorers"

(Moreland & Bannister).

"Jan Blaeu's 1642 map of 'Lower, or outer, Ethiopia' partnered a map of 'Upper Ethiopia'. For 'Ethiopia' read southern Africa - about two-thirds the size of the United States, although judicious arrangement of place names, mountain ranges, and animal drawings makes distances seem much smaller. The lake out of which the 'Zambere' - the Zambesi - flows is probably based on reports of Lake Ngami, undiscovered until 1849. Then 20 miles long, it is today only marshland."

(Tooley & Bricker).