Engraving of the Forte dos Reis Magos in Natal from 1671 – De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld “Fluvius Grandis”, Montanus, Arnoldus Montanus’ work was perhaps the greatest illustrated book on the New World produced in the seventeenth century. It contained over one hundred beautifully engraved plates, views, and maps of North and […]
From the 16th century, the historical cartography of Brazil begins with the first representations that are part of the planispheres or maps of the Americas in editions of Ptolemy’s Geography and works by travellers.
These representations of Brazil have illustrations of indigenous scenes, fauna and vegetation, information obtained, at first, through Américo Vespúcio, who accompanied the first Portuguese expeditions to the Brazilian territory, and, later, through travellers and navigators.
The cartography of this period also records the first names of the country: Terra de Santa Cruz, Terra Incógnita, Antropófagos, Terra dos Papagaios and Brasil. These maps were produced by cartographers such as Ruysch, Waldseemüller, Ortelius, Ruscelli, Forlani, Gastaldi and Hulsius. Still in the 16th century, the concern with the French attacks on the Brazilian coast began.
Examples of these episodes can be found in Gastaldi’s maps, exposing the barter between the French navigators and the Brazilian natives, and in the works of the religious and cosmographer André Thevet, who accompanied Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon during the time he was in Rio de Janeiro, with the foundation of the French Antarctic colony.
Between 1580 and 1640, Portugal was part of the Iberian Union, under the Filipino dynasty.
Thus, all the Portuguese colonies also belonged to the Spanish Crown, which favoured the presence of the French, English and Dutch on the northern and north-eastern coast of Brazil.
To defend the Iberian domains in America, the Philippine Crown allowed the Luso-Brazilians to go beyond the limits established by the Treaty of Tordesillas, advancing towards the Amazon delta.
These conquests are recorded in the 17th century Portuguese cartography, by the notable astronomers Cochado and Albernaz I, showing the forts built and the cities founded, as well as the English and Dutch fortifications destroyed.
Still referring to the 17th century, the Portuguese handwritten cartography is displayed, with the charts of Antônio Vicente Cochado, Antônio Sanches, João Teixeira Albernaz I and his grandson João Albernaz II.
All maps detail toponyms richly located on the coast, from Belém to the Rio da Prata.
The map of Brazil by Albernaz II (1666) deserves, however, to be highlighted because, besides having, like the others, a large quantity of toponyms on the Brazilian coast, it highlights the city of São Paulo and, in the south of the territory, the Jesuit missions.
I could not fail to show the beautiful Dutch cartography of north-eastern Brazil, between 1624-1654.
The map, Perfect Caerte der Gelegentheyt van Olinda de Pharnambuco Maurits-stadt ende t’Reciffo and made by Cornelis Golijath, is considered the best cartographic production under Dutch rule in north-eastern Brazil.
In the 18th century, there is a sketch about the Luso-Brazilian explorations of the Brazilian interior, which is part of the set “Cartas Sertanistas” (Letters from the Backlands) (Cortesão, 1957-1971).
These sketches, existing in the National Library, indicate Jesuit missions destroyed by sertanistas and/or bandeirantes and roads in search of mineral wealth in the interior of Brazil.
Still from the 18th century, we also find French cartography, which became predominant in that period with the foundation of the Royal Academy of Sciences by Colbert and the construction of the astronomical observatory in Paris.
Among the cartographers chosen were Guillaume de L’Isle and Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville, author of one of the best eighteenth-century charts representing South America.
The notoriety of Guillaume de L’Isle is due to the fact that he observed errors of the Portuguese in the calculations of the longitudes of Brazil.
A member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of France, Guillaume de L’Isle, in 1720, noted that the Portuguese calculations exceeded the Lusitanian domains in South America according to the Treaty of Tordesillas.
As is well known, the Iberian Crowns sought a solution to the question of the boundaries of their domains in South America.
The result of these negotiations was the Treaty of Madrid, signed in January 1750.
One of the original copies of the Map of the Cortes, the cartographic document that served as the basis for the treaty, is part of the exhibition.
Thus, mixed commissions were formed to survey and demarcate the borders of the northern and southern regions in South America. Portugal and Spain hired specialists (cosmographers, astronomers, military and other specialists) from various European nations to carry out these tasks.
From these works, a significant amount of cartographic documents (maps, views, reports, diaries) were produced.
The exhibition displays part of this collection produced by the members of these mixed commissions on the Portuguese side.
The 19th century begins with two leaves from the handwritten atlas Guia dos Caminhantes, made by Anastácio de Santana, in Salvador (1817).
The first, the title page, contains geographical data and a panoramic view of the city of Salvador.
The second is a map of Brazil with the north facing the right bank. Besides being didactic, this atlas represents one of the first initiatives in the mapping of Brazil.
In this period, cartographic production increases. Maps of provinces and of the national territory, topographic plans, hydrographic surveys of the rivers, of the Amazon and Prata basins and frontier charts are composed.
In the twentieth century, after resolving several border issues over four centuries, and with the national territory already configured, the route ends with the Carta geographica do Brasil (Geographic Chart of Brazil), on the scale 1:7,500,000, published by the Engineering Club in 1922, in commemoration of the centenary of Brazil’s Independence.
This map is the reduction of the letter of Brazil in the International Letter of the World to the Millionth, made according to international standards established at the International Congress of Geography in Paris in 1913.
Engraving of the Reis Magos Fort from 1690 – Natal “Veroveringe van Rio Grande in Brasil. Anno 1633”, Leti, Gregorio A bird’s-eye view of the fort (present-day Natal) at the mouth of the Rio Potengi showing the Dutch invasion and capture of the Portuguese fort in 1633. The harbor is filled […]
Engraving of the Baia de Todos os Santos from 1690 – Teatro Belgico “T’Neemen van de Suyker Prysen inde Bay de Tode los Santos Anno 1627”, Leti, Gregorio Nice copper engraving illustrating the Dutch fleet capturing the fort at the entrance to the Baia de Todos os Santos, in northeastern Brazil. The […]
Map of Cabo de Santo Agostinho from 1690 “Albeeldinge vande Cabo St. Augustin Met haer Forten”, Anon. This fine bird’s-eye view portrays the Dutch fleet and the fortresses at Cabo Santo Agostinho. Published by Gregorio Letie. Map of Cabo de Santo Agostinho from 1690 – Historical Map
Map of Paraíba from 1690 “Afbeeldinghe van Pariba ende Forten”, Anon. This bird’s-eye map shows the region of Paraiba and Portuguese fortifications at the mouth of the River Paraiba. The scene of the Dutch attack on the region is illustrated with the Dutch fleet and the defending Portuguese armies. Published […]
Map of Brazil from 1630 – Nieuwe Wereldt ofte Beschrijvinghe “Provincia de Brasil cum Adiacentibus Provinciis”, Gerritsz/De Laet This fine map was a collaborative effort between Hessel Gerritsz, the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company, and Johannes de Laet, the director of the newly formed Dutch West India […]
Map of Brazil from 1652 – Nouvel Atlas “Accuratissima Brasiliae Tabula”, Hondius/Jansson Magnificent depiction of Brazil with north oriented to the right by a handsome compass rose. The map is inset with two regions of Dutch interest in the area; Baja de Todos los Sanctos and Pernambuco. The interior is bereft […]
Engraving of Salvador de Bahia from 1671 – De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld “Urbs Salvador”, Montanus, Arnoldus Montanus’ work was perhaps the greatest illustrated book on the New World produced in the seventeenth century. It contained over one hundred beautifully engraved plates, views, and maps of North and South America. The […]
Engraving of the Baia de Todos os Santos from 1671 – Brazil – De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld “Sinus Omnium Sanctoru”, Montanus, Arnoldus Montanus’ work was perhaps the greatest illustrated book on the New World produced in the seventeenth century. It contained over one hundred beautifully engraved plates, views, and maps of […]
Map of Brazil from 1757 – L’Histoire Generale des Voyages… “[Lot of 2] Suite du Bresil Depuis la Baye de Tous les Saints Jusqu’a St. Paul [and] Suite du Bresil pour Servir a l’Histoire Generale des Voyages”, Bellin, Jacques Nicolas This pair of copper engraved maps covers the coastline of Brazil […]
Map of Brazil from 1850 – Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World “Brazil”, Tallis, John The maps from The Illustrated Atlas were first published in serial form to a target audience that led insular lives due to the expense and hardship of travel. All that changed as the progress of […]
Map of South America from 1740 – Atlante Novissimo… “Carta Geografica della America Meridionale”, Albrizzi, Girolamo Beautifully engraved, Italian edition of Delisle’s map of South America, extending from Nicaragua to Tierra del Fuego. Place names in South America are focused primarily along the coasts and along the Amazon and Parana Rivers. Two […]
Map of South America from 1619 – Mercator’s Atlas “America Meridionalis”, Hondius, Jodocus Superb folio map of the continent that was added by Jodocus Hondius for publication in his continuation of the Mercator Atlas. The interior features the large mythical Parime Lacus straddling the equator and an equally interesting river system. The […]
Map of South America from 1615 – Mercator’s Atlas “America Meridionalis”, Hondius, Jodocus Superb folio map of the continent that was added by Jodocus Hondius for publication in his continuation of the Mercator Atlas. The interior features the large mythical Parime Lacus straddling the equator and an equally interesting river system. The […]
Map of Recife in Pernambuco from 1679 “Mauritiopolis Reciffa, et Circumiacentia Castra”, Merian, Matthaus A rare bird’s-eye plan of the city of Recife and environs with emphasis on the Dutch fortifications. Although first founded by the Portuguese, the Dutch decided to invade several cities in Pernambuco due to the local sugarcane […]
Map of Salvador de Bahia from 1748 – Navigantium atque Itinerantium… “The City of St. Salvador and its Harbor”, Harris, John This sheet contains two views of St. Salvador, the capital of colonial Brazil. At top is a bird’s-eye view showing the city’s fortifications and at bottom is a prospect view of […]