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Scarce map of White Russia or Moscovy, published in Amsterdam by Schenk.

The map shows the extent of the Czar's Russian Empire in Europe. The political divisions are delineated and the forested areas are graphically shown.

Cherubs hang from the drape-style title cartouche.

Latin title in top border, "Russiae Albae sive Moscoviae delineatio Geographica accurata et nova…"

The map shows Russia during the reign of Czar Peter the Great. Born in 1672 he was not originally in line for the throne, which would have passed to Fedor III his sick and weak elder half-brother. Fedor III died soon after assuming the throne, with the next in line being another brother, Ivan V. Ivan was proclaimed to be too sick and infirm of mind to rule, so the council of Russia and the people of Moscow decided that Peter was to assume the throne. In the end, because of public uprisings, Peter jointly co-ruled Russia with Ivan V.

Ivan V's reign was only formal because he was too impaired by his problems. Peter the Great expanded the Czardom through successful wars into a much larger empire, as Russia became a major European power. He led a cultural revolution based on the Enlightenment that made Russia modern, scientific, and westernized. He copied the latest political models of the time, making Russia into an absolutist state. He also enacted a nine-member Senate, and divided up the empire in provinces and states (as colored on the map). He ended the Czardom of Russia and started the Russian Empire.

To Make Russia an Empire, Peter had a lot of work to do. He went on many military campaigns. His first was with the Ottoman Turks, who were a constant threat. Next, allied with the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and Denmark he went on campaign against the Kingdom of Sweden. After a 21 year Great Northern War, Peter had secured a window to the sea, where he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg. In 1722, he turned his eyes to the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea at the expense of the weakened Safavid Persians, and waged the first full-scale war against them (1722-23). In 1725 Peter died leaving the throne to his wife, then the crown passed to Empress Anna who slowed down the reforms and led a successful war against the Ottoman Empire.

Peter Schenk Biography

Peter Schenk the Elder (1660-1711) moved to Amsterdam in 1675 and began to learn the art of mezzotint. In 1694 he bought some of the copperplate stock of the mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, which allowed him to specialize in the engraving and printing of maps and prints. He split his time between his Amsterdam shop and Leipzig and also sold a considerable volume of materials to London.

Peter Schenk the Elder had three sons. Peter the Younger carried on his father’s business in Leipzig while the other two, Leonard and Jan, worked in Amsterdam. Leonard engraved several maps and also carried on his father’s relationship with engraving plates for the Amsterdam edition of the Histoire de l'Académie Royale des Sciences.