Amsterdam: Théodore Pierre, 1610. Six engraved maps on eight sheets (two double-page, two folding, two on two folding sheets), fifty-eight engraved in-text illustrations. Folio. Expertly bound to style in old vellum. Five illustrations shaved into image area; occasional expert restoration. Very good. In a half black morocco and cloth folding box. Item #WRCAM37440
Very rare first edition in French of the great classic of travel literature. "When Linschoten returned from Goa to his home in the Netherlands, he did so at a time when the people of northern Europe and particularly his countrymen were especially interested in what he had to report concerning the trading activities of the Portuguese in the East. He had lived in Goa for six years from 1583, and while he never ventured far from the Portuguese capital, he did have an 'avaricious thirst for knowledge which enabled him to get detailed information of land and sea as far afield as the Spice Islands and China'" - Penrose. But his most important and far-reaching observations concerned the gradual decline of Portuguese power in the East and her ability to protect her trade routes and monopolies. This, together with the trading possibilities he detailed, encouraged a series of Dutch, French, and English fleets to set sail for the Spice Islands and beyond to China and Japan. An important work that served not only as a valuable record, but also as a catalyst for change in the balance of power amongst European trading nations in the east. This first edition in French is translated from the Latin edition of Linschoten published in parts II-IV of De Bry's PETIT VOYAGES in 1599 and 1601 (which also contains other narratives). The illustrations are printed from exactly the same plates used in De Bry, and other aspects conform with the text as it appears in the PETIT VOYAGES. This includes the commentary on Linschoten's text by Bernard Paludanus, first appearing in the De Bry edition, and only otherwise appearing here. It is particularly useful for notations on botany and food. It has generally been accepted that this edition was actually printed in Frankfurt rather than Amsterdam, despite the imprint, probably by the same printer who printed De Bry's work (see Tiele 685). There are two issues of the first edition in French published in 1610: one by H. Laurenszoon, and one by Pierre (as here). It would have made sense for De Bry to have done this; the PETIT VOYAGES appeared only in Latin and German, but the demand for Linschoten made it worthwhile to publish separately in French. Because of De Bry's strong anti- Catholicism, he could not reach the French market directly, but did it by using the Dutch publishers as intermediaries. The differing imprints reinforce this, suggesting Laurenszoon and Pierre were really publishers, not printers, of the work. One of the most important early editions of Linschoten, the first to appear in French, and indicative of the complex printing and publishing relationships of the time. Ernst van den Boogaart, JAN HUYGEN VAN LINSCHOTEN AND THE MORAL MAP OF ASIA. BORBA DE MORAES, p.489 (ref). EUROPEAN AMERICANA 610/69. JCB (3)II:71. SABIN 41369. TIELE-MULLER 95(f).