Exquisitely detailed example of Walch's map of Australasia and the South Pacific, first published in Augsburg in 1802
The map provides a tremendous number of place names in Australia, New Zealand, and the island Pacific. It is bursting with references to the area's exploration and includes the tracks, with dates, of the voyages of Tasman, Cook, Bougainville, Carteret, Byron, and others. Their tracks crisscross the waters, making the Pacific seem crowded with European knowledge and ships.
The map reflects the booming German market for all things Pacific in the wake of Cook's voyages. The Germans themselves would start to explore to the region in the nineteenth century and the German Empire would eventually encompass German New Guinea (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa) from 1884 to 1919.
The uncertain shape of New Guinea on this map reflects what little charting had taken place by 1802. The regions of Neu Holland include De Witt's Land, Edel's Land, Dinnigs Land, Endracht Land, Lowens Land and P. Nuyt's Land, along the Western coastline. The continent's outline appears slightly odd, but is actually quite accurate considering that Flinders would not report the findings of his circumnavigation for several more years. New Zealand is shown as two islands, utilizing the Maori names for them.
Johann, or Johannes, Walch (1757-1816) was a painter and engraver. He was well-known for painting miniature portraits, having trained in Geneva, Venice, and Rome. Walch published several atlases and sheet maps. As with his atlases, many of Walch’s maps were reprinted after his death.