The Earliest Obtainable Sea Chart of Europe
Waghenaer, Lucas Janszoon
Date of Creation:
Sea Chart of Europe and Northwest Africa. Lucas Waghenaer, 1586
Universe Europe maritime eiusq Navigationis description…, from Spieghel der zeevaerdt, ca. 1586. Copperplate engraving.
Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer sailed as a Dutch chief officer between about 1550 and 1579. In the course of his travels he met Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian pilots, accumulating knowledge on navigation and cartography. When he retired from the seas, he set about organizing sailing directions and sea charts into printed form.
His first publication was the Spieghel der zeevaerdt (Mariner’s mirror) of 1584, a work that combined nautical charts, sailing directions, and navigational instructions, collecting navigational information into an organized, inclusive format. The work was timely, since the ever-increasing sea traffic had relied on manuscript charts.
In 1592 his second pilot book was published, Thresoor der Zeevaert (Treasure of navigation), and his final work in 1598, Enchuyser zeecaertboeck (Enkhuizen sea-chart-book).
Despite the success of his project, Waghenaer died in poverty.