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Detailed map of the Island of Sancto Maria (Arauco), illustrated as part of the voyages of Joris Van Spielbergen.

The island of Arauco in Chile was first sighted by Juan Bautista Pastene, in 1544, during the Spanish exploration of the Chilean Coastline. Pastene apparently returned in 1550, where he observed that the island was then populated by a thousand inhabitants, who peacefully received Pastene.

In 1614, Spielbergen sailed beyond the Strait of Magellan with an expedition of five ships and raided the Spanish settlements on the coast of Mexico and South America. He fought the Spanish at Callao, Acapulco and Navided. He then sailed across the Pacific Ocean to the Mariana Islands, the Philippine Islands and eventually to Ternate in the Maluku Islands in March 1616. He completed his circumnavigation and returned to Holland in 1617.

During his time on the west coast of South America, Van Spilbergen attacked the Spanish Garrison stationed on the island on May 31, 1615, as illustrated in this image.

Theodor De Bry Biography

Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher best known for his engravings of the New World. Born in Liege, de Bry hailed from the portion of Flanders then controlled by Spain. The de Brys were a family of jewelers and engravers, and young Theodor was trained in those artisanal trades.

As a Lutheran, however, his life and livelihood were threatened when the Spanish Inquisition cracked down on non-Catholics. De Bry was banished and his goods seized in 1570. He fled to Strasbourg, where he studied under the Huguenot engraver Etienne Delaune. He also traveled to Antwerp, London, and Frankfurt, where he settled with his family.

In 1590, de Bry began to publish his Les Grands Voyages, which would eventually stretch to thirty volumes released by de Bry and his two sons. The volumes contained not only important engraved images of the New World, the first many had seen of the geographic novelties, but also several important maps. He also published a collection focused on India Orientalis. Les Grands Voyages was published in German, Latin, French, and English, extending de Bry’s fame and his view of the New World.