|Dimensions||262 x 365 mm|
A decorative map of West Africa, from the German edition of Dapper's Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Gewesten, commonly known as the Description of Africa. The map covers most of the southern West African coast, the region historically known to Europeans as Guinea, and the heart of the transatlantic slave trade. The map stretches from Melli, the coastal part of the former Mali Empire, now Senegal, the Gambia, and Guinea, in the west to the Kingdom of Benin in the east, and from Tombutu Regnum (the Kingdom of Timbuktu) in the north to the Gabon river in the south. The hinterland of West Africa is populated by numerous animals, including lions, elephants, monkeys, and a crocodile, while the title is enclosed in a cartouche held up by nereids. The scale is curved, rather than straight, to fit on an elephant tusk being carried by two African cherubs. A half compass rose is placed in the centre bottom of the map, its numerous rhumb lines criss-crossing the 'Ethiopian Ocean.' A pair of European sailing vessels speak to the region's exploitation by colonial powers, particularly for slaves, gold, ivory, and pepper.
Olfert Dapper's 'Description of Africa' was an ethnographic book which offered a detailed description of the parts of Africa known to Europeans in the mid-seventeenth century. Despite the work being regarded as one of the most important and detailed seventeenth-century publications on Africa, Dapper himself never actually visited the continent. Instead, he relied on the reports of Jesuit missionaries and Dutch explorers. The 'Description of Africa' was first published in 1668 by Jacob van Meurs in Amsterdam, with a second Dutch edition appearing in 1676. In 1670, a German translation of the publication was issued, and in the same year, an English translation, which is generally attributed to John Ogilby. A French edition was published in 1676, although it was not as true to the original as the other translations.
Olfert Dapper (1636 - 1689) was a Dutch physician and writer. Despite never travelling outside of the Netherlands, Dapper was a writer of world history and geography.
Condition: Central vertical fold, as issued. Time toning to edges of sheet. Stain to bottom left margin, not affecting map. Blank on verso.