Magazine article Geographical

Reflected Glory: Map of the Bay of Biscay Coastline (1588)

Magazine article Geographical

Reflected Glory: Map of the Bay of Biscay Coastline (1588)

Article excerpt

This is the last of three nautical charts covering the Bay of Biscay coastline that were published in the first part of The Mariners Mirrour, an English translation of a Dutch atlas of sea charts. Depicted here is the stretch from Aviles to Ribadasella of the Costa Verde, Asturias, Spain.

Consisting of sailing instructions, lunar and solar tables and a collection of nautical charts, the original two-part Dutch work, Spieghel der Zeevaerdt--the first ever printed sea atlas--was compiled by an experienced seaman and navigator by the name of Lucas Jansz Waghenaer, who lived in the fishing port of Enkhuizen. It was first printed and published in Leiden in 1583-85. A German and then a Latin translation soon followed, and it was upon the latter that Sir Anthony Ashley based his translation into English.

Published in 1588, The Mariners Mirrour was too late to be of use to the English during their battles with the Spanish Armada that year. Its title, nevertheless, ends: "Heerin also may be understood the exploits lately atchived by the right Honorable the L[ord]. Admiral of Engla[n]d with her Ma[jes]ties. Navie; and some former services don by that worthy Knight Sr. Fra[ncis]. Drake."

The work was so popular that, in England, all sea charts became known as 'waggoners'. …

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