Rare Map of Thailand Featuring Bangkok
"De Groote Siamse Rievier Me-Nam ofte Moeder der Wateren in Haren Loop met de in Vallende Spruyten Verbeeld", Valentyn, Francois
Subject: Chao Phraya River, Thailand
Period: 1726 (published)
Publication: Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien...
Color: Black & White
29.3 x 11.6 inches
74.4 x 29.5 cm
Described by Thomas Suarez as "perhaps the most intriguing map in Valentijn's work," this rare and decorative map on two joined sheets covers Thailand's Chao Phraya River region. Possibly sourced from an indigenous map, it features charming graphic depictions of the region's topography and architecture. The map centers on Ayutthaya, the city center of a Siamese kingdom of the same name. Sometimes described as the "Venice of the East," the fortified city is shown encircled by the river. At the time of the map's publication, the city's population likely exceeded one million, making it one of the most populous in the world. 'T Fortres Banckok (Bangkok) is identified at the confluence of the river's central and western branches. After the destruction of Ayutthaya during the Burmese-Siamese War (1765-67), Bangkok would become the capital of Siam. The key running along the bottom of the map locates 101 sites of interest, including Lop Buri, Saraburi, and Phetchabun. A compass rose orients north to the right. This was published by Joannes van Braam and Gerard Onder de Linden in the third volume of Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien.
Valentyn was a prominent historian of the Dutch East India Company who is best known for Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien, his vast illustrated account of the Dutch trading empire in Asia. He twice traveled to the East Indies and served as Calvinist minister to Ambon between 1686 and 1694. In preparing this monumental work, he was given privileged access to the previously secret archives of the VOC, containing transcripts and copies of important earlier Dutch voyages.
References: Shirley (BL Atlases) G.VALN-1a #27; Suarez (SEA) pp. 232-35.
A crisp impression issued folding on paper with a fleur-de-lis watermark. There is some light scattered foxing, minor offsetting, and a bit of soiling along the joint.