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Basque Country

Rare early map of the province of Gipuzkoa (or Guipúzcoa in Spanish), in the Basque region of northern Spain.

In this period the region was under the Habsburg monarchs, notably under Philip II, who reigned from 1556 to 1598.

Gipuzkoa's geographical features, including its rugged terrain and coastline, influenced its development. The region's ports, such as San Sebastián, played a pivotal role in maritime trade and defense. The local economy was diverse, with a mix of agriculture, fishing, and emerging industries.

Internally, Gipuzkoa was governed by a blend of local traditional laws and the broader legislative framework of the Spanish monarchy. Its societal structure was characterized by a mix of rural communities and emerging urban centers, with a society structured around traditional Basque lineages and a growing influence of Spanish administrative and cultural norms.

Gerard de Jode Biography

Gerard De Jode (1509-1591) was a pre-eminent mapmaker in the late seventeenth century, a time when the Dutch dominated the map trade. He was known for his many maps, some of which featured in Speculum Orbis Terrae (first edition Antwerp: 1578). Although never as successful as Ortelius’ Theatrum, the Speculum did get republished in a second edition in 1593, two years after De Jode’s death, by Arnold Coninx, and included this map. After his death, Gerard’s son, Cornelis (1568-1600), and his wife, Paschina, ran the shop. Unfortunately, Cornelis died young in 1600, aged only 32, and the stock and plates were sold to the publisher Joan Baptista Vrients.