Rare sea chart of the Scandinavia, extending from Iceland to Spitzberg and Nova Zembla.
Of note, this is one of, if not the earliest appearance of the reference to the sighting of land on the East Coast of Greenland by Gael Hamkes in 1654.
Includes a large inset of Ian Mayen Island, a center of whaling activity for 3 decades, which by the date of this map was nearly abandoned.
The map appeared in Arnold Colom's Zee Atlas Ofte Water-Wereldt.
Ian Mayen Island
Following its discovery in 1614, Ian Mayen Island became a place of great importance. From 1615 to 1638, Jan Mayen was used as a whaling base by the Dutch Noordsche Compagnie, which had been given a monopoly on whaling in the Arctic regions by the States General in 1614. Only two ships, one from the Noordsche Compagnie, and the other from the Delft merchants, were dispatched to Jan Mayen in 1615. The following year a score of vessels were sent to the island. The Noordsche Compagnie sent eight ships escorted by three warships under Jan Jacobsz. Schrobop; while the Delft merchants sent up five ships
In 1632 the Noordsche Compagnie expelled the Danish-employed Basque whalers from Spitsbergen. In revenge, the latter sailed to Jan Mayen, where the Dutch had left for the winter, to plunder the Dutch equipment and burn down the settlements and factories. Captain Outger Jacobsz of Grootebroek was asked to stay the next winter (1633/34) on Jan Mayen with six shipmates to defend the island. While a group with the same task survived the winter on Spitsbergen, all seven on Jan Mayen died of scurvy or trichinosis (from eating raw polar bear meat) combined with the harsh conditions.
During the first phase of whaling the hauls were generally good. During the second phase the hauls were much lower. In 1633, eleven ships managed to catch just 47 whales he bowhead whale was locally hunted to near-extinction around 1640, at which time Jan Mayen was abandoned and stayed uninhabited for two and a half centuries.
Colom's Zee Atlas is among the rarest of all folio sized Sea Atlases published in the 17th century. Ashley Baynton Williams records 6 surviving complete examples of the atlas in his on-line essay on Colom, 5 of which are in private hands. Referring to the Zee Atlas, Koeman wrote:
This chartbook by Arnold Colom ... is one of the most important atlases in the well known category of Dutch sea-atlases. It is not the first of the group: Joannes Janssonius' Atlas Maritimus (1650), which constitutes volume 5 of the Novus Atlas opens the series ... Contrary to the rather unhomogenous set of charts by Janssonius, Arnold Colom assembled a coherent group of 15 charts, later increased to 17 plus a world map. ... Arnold Colom's three charts of the oceans are on the same scale (1:14mill.) as Portuguese and Spanish charts of that time. It marked the first time that such charts were published as atlas sheets ... (Atlantes Neerlandici, IV, p.115).
The Zee-Atlas is one of the largest format sea-atlases published in Amsterdam of the period, and also one of the scarcest. That Colom's sea atlas and his other cartographic ventures were not successful would seem to be confirmed also by the fact that Colom fell heavily in arrears with his rent. In a notarial act of 1663, Colom gave his landlord, another prominent cartographic publisher Nicolaas Visscher (II), security for the debt, which included the eighteen printing plates for the Zee-Atlas. It would appear that Colom died, in 1668, without redeeming the plates, for no later editions by him are known. Visscher apparently sold the plates to Hendrick Doncker, Sr., who re-issued the plates under his own imprint in 1675. Doncker's re-issued plates are also quite rare, as Doncker soon moved on to use a smaller format set of maps for his more commercially successful atlases of the 1680s.