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Anamocka by ons genaemt 'T Eylant Rotterdam

Date: 1726
Dimensions:
Overall: 353 x 218 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00008311
Place Manufactured:Amsterdam

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    Description
    Eighteenth century Dutch depictions of Nomuka Island in the Kingdom of Tonga. These two prints most likely depict Abel Janszoon Tasman's discovery of the Island in 1643. His voyage 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. These prints are from that text and were engraved by Dutch artist Frederik Ottens.
    SignificanceThis engraving comes from Dutch writer/vicar Francois Valentijn's celebrated text Oud en Nieuw Oost-indien (Old and New East India, published in several volumes between 1724 and 1726). The work gives a detailed account of the activities of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) during this period. This particular print forms a valuable record of Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman's voyages in the early 1640s.
    HistoryNomuka is a small island in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is part of the Nomuka Island Group. Notable historic visitors include Abel Tasman, Captain James Cook, Captain William Bligh, and William Mariner. The Dutchman Abel Tasman made the first European discovery of the island on 24 January 1643. A party went ashore to get water, and the description of the huge lake they brought back afterwards leaves little doubt about the identification. Tasman called it Rotterdam Island, after the Dutch city of Rotterdam, and noted in his maps the indigenous name for the island of Anamocka which is a misspelling of the native word 'a Nomuka'.

    These prints were published in one of the volumes of Francois Valentijn's, Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën in 1726. Born in Dordrecht, the Netherlands on 17 April 1666, Valentijn 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 in The Netherlands between 1714 and 1724. This text gives a detailed account of VOC (Dutch East India Company) 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.

    These two prints probably depict Abel Janszoon Tasman's discovery of Nomuka Island in 1643 (his two ships, HEEMSKERCK and ZEEHAEN, are visible in the top print). Born in 1603, Tasman is best remembered for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 when he was in the service of the VOC. His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands, which he did in 1643. Tasman, his navigator Visscher, and his merchant Gilsemans also mapped substantial portions of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

    The entire book was published by 1726, 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'.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Anamocka by ons genaemt 'T Eylant Rotterdam

    Web title: Anamocka by ons genaemt 'T Eylant Rotterdam (Anamocka Island, otherwise known as Rotterdam Island). Depicts Nomuka Island, Tonga.

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