Saturday, June 02, 2007

Barren Regions: Early Dutch Books on the Exploration of Australia
At the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands)

On the occasion of the celebration of "Netherlands - Australia 1606 - 2006" the Koninklijke Bibliotheek presents the complete digital facsimiles of five early Dutch books on the exploration of Australia.

Without ever having seen the Terra Australis Incognita, or the Unknown Southland, everyone in seventeenth-century Europe was convinced that it existed. Sixteenth-century cartographers were heavily influenced by Ptolemy’s world map of the 2nd century, on which a vast southern land mass is shown to counterbalance the weight of the northern continent. This Southland was rumoured to have enormous riches, such as silver and gold. In the end none of the phantasies proved to be correct, as was shown by the subsequent discoveries of Australia and New Zealand, discoveries mainly made by the Dutch.

Access exhibition here