Arabia and Southwestern Persia etc.
Nice example of the western half of Pierre Mortier's fine, two-sheet map of the Indian Ocean, centered on the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula.
The chart closely details the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, and includes both rhumb lines and details in the interior of the covered regions.
The map includes Arabia and Safavid Iran, titled Empire of the Persians. The Safavid dynasty ruled the Iranian peninsula from 1501 to 1736. The title of this eastern sheet emphasizes the isles of Zocatora, or Socotra, and the Amirante Islands, while the Arabian Peninsula and Eastern Africa are also included.
The Gulf is identifed as "Golfe de Belsera ou D'El Catif. The name "Isle Adist" appears in the general area of Qatar and Bahrain, but we can find no support for this name.
However, the name Bischa is of perhaps greatest historical note. This would seem to be an early printed appearance of the name "Bishita," a name which dates back to the 8th and 9th Centuries, when it appeared in Eastern Syriatic documents of the Old Testament, "referencing the prosperity of the 'Bayt Qatarya' region." (see, Khalid Al-Jaber, Media In Qatar, Katara (Publishin House 2021), p. 23)
Socotra and the Admiral Islands
The map title out Socotra and the Admiral Island. At the time of publication, both the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra Island were under Ottoman rule. Earlier, in 1507, the Portuguese had tried to establish a base on Socotra, but they found the port conditions poor and the health conditions worse. The Mahra Sultanate took control in 1511, converting some of the mostly Christian population to Islam.
In 1834, The East India Company attempted to buy the island from the Mahra Sultan, but he refused. Like the Portuguese, they also found the anchorages poor and therefore left the islands in 1835. Today, the island is part of the Republic of Yemen.
Finally, the Amirante Islands are in the southern portion of the eastern chart. They were discovered by the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama on his second voyage in 1503, although Arab and Indian traders may have already known of the archipelago. The islands remained as a watering station and stop-over points for the East Indies trade. They were claimed by the French in 1802 and passed to British control in 1814. Then, the islands were administratively paired with Mauritius and, later, with the Seychelles.
Mortier and the Neptune Francois
These maps were integrated into the expansion of the most famous sea atlas of the seventeenth century, the Neptune Francois. As published in Amsterdam, this third part of the work, Suite du Neptune Francois, ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines, contained maps prepared for the king of Portugal.
Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third, with these charts, followed in 1700.
The highlighted islands emphasize the importance of ports and stopping places to Europeans hungry for Asian trade. This is a fine example of this highly sought-after map.
Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. He was born in Leiden. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third followed in 1700. His son, Cornelis (1699-1783), would partner with Johannes Covens I, creating one of the most important map publishing companies of the eighteenth century.