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Title page print of Houtman's Journal of the first Dutch Fleet to the Indies
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Enter the Dutch
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 350 years.
Already in 1597, shortly after the return of the first fleet, the Middelburg publisher Barent Langenes published an acclaimed account of the first voyage, predating the Lodewijcksz account published by Cornelis Claesz in Amsterdam. The journal was immediately translated by John Wolfe who issued the English version a few months later. The journal’s title page shows the fleet setting sail from Amsterdam roadstead.
The voyage is of seminal importance to the exploration and the cartography of the region.
Leading the fleet on the left is the yacht Duyfken, the pinnace that would soon after discover Australia in 1606, when exploring the waters south of New Guinea with Willem Jansz as skipper.
To the left of the view is a depiction of the Sultan of Bantam, while on the right there is a depiction of commander of the fleet Cornelis de Houtman.
These two key players are depicted in the panorama below the view, surrounded by Javanese people.
Good dark and even imprint of the copperplate. Here the re-engraved copperplate from the Commelin history of the VOC.