Arnoldus Montanus (c.1625-1683)
 

"The New and Unknown World; or Description of America and the South-Land, containing the origin of the Americans and South-Landers, Remarkable Voyages thither, Quality of the Shores, Islands, Cities, Fortress, Towns, Temples, Mountains, Sources, Rivers, Houses, the Nature of Beasts, Trees, Plants and Foreign Crops, Religion and Manners, Miraculous Occurrences, Old and New Wars; Adorned with Illustrations drawn from the Life in America, and as described by Arnoldus Montanus.”

A complete set of sixteen hand-coloured copperplate

engravings depicting Dutch Brazil
From: “De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld; of Beschryving van America en ‘t Zuid Land...” by Arnoldus Montanus (c.1625-1683), published by Jacob Meurs, 1671, Amsterdam.

The lengthy title in English reads: "The New and Unknown World; or Description of America and the South-Land, containing the origin of the Americans and South-Landers, Remarkable Voyages thither, Quality of the Shores, Islands, Cities, Fortress, Towns, Temples, Mountains, Sources, Rivers, Houses, the Nature of Beasts, Trees, Plants and Foreign Crops, Religion and Manners, Miraculous Occurrences, Old and New Wars; Adorned with Illustrations drawn from the Life in America, and described by Arnoldus Montanus.”


The book describes the cultures of the Americas, Oceania, and by Europe recently discovered Australia (South-Land) and was translated and published in England by the famous editor, map publisher and poet John Ogilby (1600- 1676).

Approx. 28.8 x 35 cm & approx. 26.5 x 54 cm

Montanus, Latinized from the Dutch name ‘van den Berg,’ was born in Amsterdam, studied theology at Leiden University, became a minister in Schellingwoude in 1653, and Schoonhoven in 1667, where he also became headmaster of the Latin School. Montanus never travelled beyond the Netherlands. Instead, he borrowed from those who had, repeating many fantastic conceptions and errors along the way. Nevertheless, his book became a standard work on the ‘New World’, widely read for many years. The book was lavishly illustrated with 125 copper engravings, including 32 folded views, 70 plates, 16 maps and 7 handsome portraits of famous explorers by the well known Amsterdam engraver-publisher Jacob van Meurs (1619/1620- c. 1680). The engravings were primarily based on descriptions or on earlier prints; for instance, Boa Vista, Fort Nassau, Rio Grande and Mauritiopolis are after drawings and prints by Frans Post (1612-1680).

Dutch Brazil was the first large-scale colony of the Netherlands under the government of Johan Maurits van Nassau Siegen. To sustain the sugar mills and keep the colony profitable, he sailed to Africa to conquest the fortresses of the Portuguese, and so plunged the Netherlands into slavery. Some Dutch scholars and officials were against this Catholic abuse of man-kind. But with profits beaconing, they did not hold their opinion for long.