Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 512

"Hispani Stratagemate Quodam Indos in Insula Cubagua adversus Gallos incitant", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Exploration - Venezuela

Period: 1595 (circa)

Publication: Grands Voyages, Part V

Color: Black & White

9.7 x 14 inches
24.6 x 35.6 cm

This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.

This view illustrates an episode between the French and Spanish off the coast of Venezuela at the island of Cubagua. When the Spanish observed a French privateer poaching in the pearl fisheries they told the local Indians that the French were sodomites and they should prevent them from coming ashore. The Indians attacked the ship with poisonous arrows and drove them from the area. It was reported that no French ship ever tried to land on Cubagua because the Indians were so hostile. Thus, the Spanish were able to keep their monopoly of the rich pearl banks until they had been completely depleted.


Condition: B

Weak impression with some tears and chips in lower margin, well away from text and image.

Estimate: $100 - $130

Sold for: $75

Closed on 6/12/2002