16th Century View of Goa
Decorative & detailed birdseye view of the city and harbor of Goa. Engraved by Baptista van Deutecum in Amsterdam, for Linschoten's Itinerario.
Linschoten served 6 years as the bookkeeper for the Archbishop of Goa (1583-89). While in Goa, as a result of his position, Linschoten had access to secret information, including the nautical maps that were well guarded for over a century. Misusing the trust in him, he began meticulously copying these maps. In 1587, the Archbishop of Goa died while on a trip to Lisbon to report to the King of Portugal, ending Linschoten's stay in Goa. He set sail for Lisbon in January, 1589, passing by the Portuguese supply depot at St. Helena island in May 1589.
Linschoten was "one of the pathfinders for the first Dutch voyages to the East" (Schilder, p. 195). He was in the service of the Portuguese as Secretary to the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, in India, from 1583 to 1589. Here, he had access to many Portuguese portolans as well as other valuable commercial information, especially as Goa at this time was the commercial and political center for the Portugal Empire in the East. Van Linschoten left Goa for home in January 1589. On the way to Portugal, his ship was pursued by an English fleet and lost its cargo in a storm while anchored off the Azores. After the loss of the cargo, Van Linschoten was persuaded to stay and help recover it; he spent two years on Tercera, working and preparing his notes from Goa. Van Linschoten eventually arrived in Lisbon early in 1592, and then sailed home to The Netherlands. His account of his experiences is one of the most important travel works of the period.