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Detailed map of County of Oldenburg, publshed by Willem Blaeu.

Published in the midst of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), the map delineates the territory of the County of Oldenburg, situated in the lower Saxony region. During this period, the region was predominantly a rural territory, yet its strategic location near the North Sea coast rendered it significant in the broader geopolitical landscape.

Key cities such as Oldenburg, Jever, and Varel are shown, as is the Hanseatic Free City of Bremen. Oldenburg, a burgeoning urban center, is depicted with its fortifications, indicative of its military and defensive importance. Similarly, Jever and Varel, though smaller, are shown as vital nodes in the regional network, both for trade and as military outposts. 

Willem Janszoon Blaeu Biography

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a prominent Dutch geographer and publisher. Born the son of a herring merchant, Blaeu chose not fish but mathematics and astronomy for his focus. He studied with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, with whom he honed his instrument and globe making skills. Blaeu set up shop in Amsterdam, where he sold instruments and globes, published maps, and edited the works of intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. In 1635, he released his atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas novus.

Willem died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672.