Handcoloured engraving titled 'De Moordenaars Baay. Verboont zich aldus, alagy daer in op 15 vadem, ten anker legt' ('The Killers Bay. Verboont himself said, alagy daer in 15 fathoms, at anchor leg').
The image depicts Golden Bay, orginally named Killers or Murderer's Bay, in New Zealand as seen in December 1642, during Abel Tasman's visits, with his ships the ZEEHAEN and the HEEMSKERCK, firing their cannons and surrounded by Maori canoes.This encounter was later documented by Dutch writer/vicar Francois Valentijn in his famous work 'Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën' ('Old and New East India') in 1726. This print is from that text and was engraved by Dutch artist Frederik Ottens.
SignificanceThis engraving is significant in that it is part of Dutch writer/vicar Francois Valentyn's celebrated text 'Oud en Nieuw Oost-indien' ('Old and New East India', published in several volumes between 1714 and 1724). The work is important as it gives a detailed account of the activities of the Dutch East India Company during this period as well as providing a unique insight into how the Dutch regarded other cultures. It also contains interesting geographical, biological and botanic data. This particular print forms a valuable record of Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman's voyages in the early 1640s and represents the first European depiction of the Maori People of New Zealand.
HistoryBorn in 1603 and dying on the 10th of October, 1659, Abel Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer and merchant. He is best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the Dutch East India Company, during which time his expeditioners became the first known Europeans to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand. In 1643 he also became the first European to sight the Fiji Islands. Together with his navigator Visscher, and his Merchant Gilsemans he was able to map substantial portions of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
In August 1642, Tasman was sent in command of an expedition whose purpose was to discover the 'Great Southern Land' (Australia), which was believed to be in the south Pacific but which had not yet been properly explored by Europeans (despite a number of European ships having been wrecked off its West coast while trying to reach Batavia). His expedition consisted of two ships: the 120 ton jacht HEEMSKERCK and the fluit ZEEHAEN (both completed in 1639 for use by the VOC's Amsterdam Chambers).
On 13 December Tasman's expedition sighted land on the north-west coast of the South Island, New Zealand. Tasman named this new land 'Staten Landt' wrongly believing it to be connected to an island (Staten Island, Argentina) off the southern tip of South America. He then proceeded north and then east and it was here that one of his ships was attacked by a group of Maori in waka (a Maori canoe). Four of Tasman's crew were killed in the confrontation, earning the bay the title of 'Murderers Bay' (although it is now called 'Golden Bay'). Nevertheless, the expedition went on, arriving back in Batavia on the 15th of June, 1643.
Tasman's navigational and exploratorial errors were numerous and, from the point of view of the Dutch East India Company, his voyages were largely a disappointment: he had neither found a promising area for trade nor a useful new shipping route. For over a century, until the era of James Cook, Tasmania and New Zealand were not visited by Europeans (mainland Australia was visited, but usually only by accident).
François Valentijn was a Dutch writer/vicar born in Dordrecht, Holland on the 17th of April, 1666 and who died on the 6th of August 1726 in The Hague. He studied theology and philosophy at the Universities of Leiden and Utrecht before leaving for the Dutch East Indies in 1685 to become a preacher.
Valentijn spent sixteen years in the Indies (1685-1694 and 1706-1714), mostly on the island of Ambon, in the Moluccas. He wrote his famous multi-volume work 'Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën' ('The East Indies Past and Present') in the Netherlands between 1714 and 1724. This text gives a detailed account of Dutch East India Company's activities during this period as well as providing a unique insight into how the Dutch regarded and treated other cultures. It also contains interesting geographical, biological and botanic data.
The entire book was published by 1727, and became a bestseller, attracting 650 subscribers before it appeared. For centuries it was highly regarded as an historical source on the Indies, but in current times it is valued more for its evocative anecdotes and attractive prose. One critic noted that 'some of his pieces are true oases in the desert of eighteenth-century historical writing'.