Scarce map of Caspian Sea and adjoining regions, published in London by Herman Moll, based upon Carl van Verden's landmark mapping of the Caspian.
An inset view of the "City of Astracan" appears across the bottom of the map while the "City of Terky" room is also shown in inset at upper left and the "City of Derbent" above the title cartouche. Coastal towns are named along the western coast of the Caspian Sea.
Carl Van Verden or Karl Van Verden, was a Dutch seaman in the employ of the Russian Navy during the early 18th century. Van Verden is best known for his important 1719 - 1721 mapping of the Caspian Sea, which was the most sophisticated and accurate that had been issued to date. A significant cartographic achievement, Van Verden's work on the Caspian led directly to Peter the Great's 1722 invasion of Baku and Derbent and Russian hegemony in the region. Despite his achievements in the Caspian, Van Verden was later passed up by the Czar in favor of Vitus Behring for the commission to discover a Northeast Passage through the Russian Arctic.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was one of the most important London mapmakers in the first half of the eighteenth century. Moll was probably born in Bremen, Germany, around 1654. He moved to London to escape the Scanian Wars. His earliest work was as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, a failed work which landed Pitt in debtor's prison. Moll also engraved for Sir Jonas Moore, Grenville Collins, John Adair, and the Seller & Price firm. He published his first original maps in the early 1680s and had set up his own shop by the 1690s.
Moll's work quickly helped him become a member of a group which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill, where speculators met to trade stock. Moll's circle included the scientist Robert Hooke, the archaeologist William Stuckley, the authors Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, and the intellectually-gifted pirates William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and William Hacke. From these contacts, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was included in his maps.
Over the course of his career, he published dozens of geographies, atlases, and histories, not to mention numerous sheet maps. His most famous works are Atlas Geographus, a monthly magazine that ran from 1708 to 1717, and The World Described (1715-54). He also frequently made maps for books, including those of Dampier’s publications and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Moll died in 1732. It is likely that his plates passed to another contemporary, Thomas Bowles, after this death.