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Rare 16th Century map of Southern India, the Gulf of Bengal, Malay Peninsula and the northern part of Sumatra, published by Giovanni Botero in 1596.

This fine map embraces the southern part of India, Sri Lanka, as well as parts of Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and the northern part of Sumatra. From Vasco Da Gama's first voyage to India in 1498 until the early years of the 17th Century, the Indian Ocean was in essence a Portuguese sea. This map is thus based almost exclusively on Lusatian sources.

Southern India is referred to as the 'Regnum Narsingae', which refers to the Vijayanagara Empire (often called 'Bisnagar' by the Portuguese), which dominated much of the region from 1336 to 1646. Coastal India, highly familiar to the Portuguese, is well shaped and names several key ports critical to contemporary maritime trade with Europe, including, 'Curate' (Surat), 'Chaul', Goa (since 1530, the capital of Portuguese India), 'Mangalor' (Manglore), Cochin (Kochi), Nagapatnam and 'Mazulepatan' (Mazulipatam). The interior of India was less well understood by Europeans, such that 'Delli' (Delhi), then an important city in the Mughal Empire, is placed hundreds of miles to the south of its actual location.

Beyond India is 'Zeilam Insula' (Ceylpn, or Sri Lanka), which features the great port of 'Tricamale' (Trincomalee) and 'Galla' (Galle), while Burma is referred to as 'Pegu' and Siam (Thailand) is 'Sian'. The city of 'Achem' (Bandar Aceh) appears in northern Sumatra.

Giovanni Botero (c. 1544 - 1617) was a brilliant Italian philosopher and diplomat. He was perhaps best known for his political treatises, especially Della Ragion di Stato (The Reason of State), published in Venice in 1589, which was a powerful refutation of Machiavelli's The Prince (1527). Latterly, Botero wrote a series of fine works on geography and overseas travel. The present map is from his book on the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, Tabula Geographica Impery Magni Turcae, qui Magnas Europae, Asiae, & Africae Provincias, Tyrannide Premit, published in Cologne by Lambert Andreas, in 1596.

The present map is rare, we are aware of only one other example appearing separately in dealers' catalogs during the last 25 years.

P. Meurer, 'Atlantes Colonienses', p.74, no.14.