Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Willem Lodewijcksz forbidden Chart of Java

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Stock number: 19019

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Willem Lodewijcksz


Nova tabula, Insularum lavæ, Sumatræ, Borneonis et aliarum Malaccam usque, delineata in insula Iava, ubi ad vivum designantur vada et brevia scopulique interjacentes descripta a G.M.A.L.

First Published

Amsterdam, 1598

This Edition



38.0 x 54.0 cms




This Item is Sold


The missing map of the arrival of the Dutch First Fleet

The forbidden map of the Indies printed by Cornelis Claeszoon, Amsterdam 1598

An exceptionally rare, magnificent and highly important sea chart, adjourned with five dramatic compass roses, three strapwork cartouches, and a total of seven scenes depicting the adventures of the fleet. The descriptions on the map are in Latin, with the title repeated in Dutch.

Lodewijcksz sea chart of Indonesia was made from live observations on the Dutch First Fleet voyage to the Indies 1595-97, and was intended to be included in his journal of the voyage that would be published soon after return.

“Here follows the chart of Java:” – But there is no map. In fact, there never is.

The dreams and labours of Petrus Plancius and Jan Huyghen van Linschoten culminated in the Dutch First Fleet to the Indies taking place from 1595 to 1597. It was instrumental in the opening up of the Indonesian spice trade to the merchants that would soon form the United Dutch East India Company (VOC). This famous pioneering voyage, commanded by Cornelis de Houtman, would abruptly end the Portuguese Empire´s trade monopoly for the East and it would dramatically change the Indian Ocean theatre, notably the balance of power and the rules of trade. Right from this first voyage onward, the Dutch were going to dominate the East Indies and its trade for more than 200 years, and the Dutch were to stay in the area for more than 350 years.

Already in 1598, shortly after the return of the first fleet, the Amsterdam publisher Cornelis Claesz published an acclaimed account of the first voyage, in Dutch and in Latin. The account was written by Willem Lodewijcksz, an officer on the fleet. The book was an instant success that sold in many editions and was translated in several languages. The book explicitly refers to this map to be included (at the end of Chapter 18: “Here follows the chart of Java and Sumatra”). But the map is never there. Indeed, no copy of any edition of the book is known to have the map, evidently because it was immediately forbidden, and already printed copies destroyed.


A dark and even imprint of the copperplate. Stunning original colour. Excellent condition.