Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Cornelis de Houtman's Journal of the Dutch first fleet to the East Indies, here in 1598 first French edition

Antique map of the Dutch first fleet to the East Indies by Houtman



IOURNAL Du voyage de l'Inde Orientale, faict par les navires Hollandoises

First Published

Middelburg, 1597

This Edition

1598 first French edition




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Enter the Dutch

The dreams and labours of Petrus Plancius and Jan Huyghen van Linschoten culminated in the Dutch First Fleet to the Indies taking place from 1595 to 1597. It was instrumental in the opening up of the Indonesian spice trade to the merchants that would soon form the United Dutch East India Company (VOC). This famous pioneering voyage, commanded by Cornelis de Houtman, would abruptly end the Portuguese Empire ́s trade monopoly for the East and it would dramatically change the Indian Ocean theatre, notably the balance of power and the rules of trade. Right from this first voyage onward, the Dutch were going to dominate the East Indies and its trade for more than 350 years.

Already in 1597, shortly after the return of the first fleet, the Middelburg publisher Barent Langenes published an acclaimed account of the first voyage, predating the Lodewijcksz account published by Cornelis Claesz in Amsterdam. The journal was immediately translated by John Wolfe who issued the English version a few months later. The journal’s title page shows the fleet setting sail from Amsterdam roadstead.

The voyage is of seminal importance to the exploration and the cartography of the region.