Jodocus Hondius

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Jodocus Hondius
Jodocus Hondius.jpg
Jodocus Hondius on a 1619 engraving
BornOctober 14, 1563
Wakken, Belgium
DiedFebruary 12, 1612(1612-02-12) (aged 48)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Scientific career
Fields Cartography
Influences Gerardus Mercator
Influenced Jan Janssonius, Henricus Hondius II

Jodocus Hondius (Latinized version of his Dutch name: Joost de Hondt) (14 October 1563 12 February 1612) was a Flemish engraver and cartographer. He is sometimes called Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his son Jodocus Hondius II. Hondius is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. One of the notable figures in the Golden Age of Dutch/Netherlandish cartography (c. 1570s–1670s), he helped establish Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

The Flemish or Flemings are a Germanic ethnic group native to Flanders, in modern Belgium, who speak Flemish, but mostly use the Dutch written language. They are one of two principal ethnic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons. Flemish people make up the majority of the Belgian population. Historically, all inhabitants of the medieval County of Flanders were referred to as "Flemings", irrespective of the language spoken. The contemporary region of Flanders comprises a part of this historical county, as well as parts of the medieval duchy of Brabant and the medieval county of Loon. This ethnic group, marginalized by Walloon Belgians historically through violent oppression, has used its newfound economic power to organize an independence movement.



Hondius was born in Wakken and grew up in Ghent. In his early years he established himself as an engraver, instrument maker and globe maker. In 1584 he moved to London to escape religious difficulties in Flanders.

Wakken Deelgemeente in West Flanders, Belgium

Wakken is a village and deelgemeente in Dentergem municipality, in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The village is located near the confluence of the Lys and Mandel rivers.

Ghent Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city originally started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city.

Engraving practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it

Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; these images are also called "engravings". Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking. Wood engraving is a form of relief printing and is not covered in this article.

Hondius map of bay of New Albion Joducus hondius new albion 1589.png
Hondius map of bay of New Albion

While in England, Hondius was instrumental in publicizing the work of Francis Drake, who had made a circumnavigation of the world in the late 1570s. In particular, in 1589 Hondius produced a now famous map of the bay of New Albion, where Drake briefly established a settlement on the west coast of North America. Hondius's map was based on journal and eyewitness accounts of the trip and has long fueled speculation about the precise location of Drake's landing, which has not yet been firmly established by historians. Hondius is also thought to be the artist of several well-known portraits of Drake that are now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Francis Drake Elizabethan era historical figure

Sir Francis Drake was an English sea captain, privateer, slave trader, naval officer and explorer of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580, and was the first to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition throughout the entire circumnavigation. With his incursion into the Pacific Ocean, he claimed what is now California for the English and inaugurated an era of conflict with the Spanish on the western coast of the Americas, an area that had previously been largely unexplored by western shipping.

Circumnavigation Navigation of a circumference

Circumnavigation is the complete navigation around an entire island, continent, or astronomical body. This article focuses on the circumnavigation of Earth. The first circumnavigation of Earth was the Magellan-Elcano expedition, which sailed from Seville, Spain in 1519 and returned in 1522, after crossing the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

New Albion

New Albion, also known as Nova Albion, was the name of the continental area north of Mexico claimed by Sir Francis Drake for England in 1579. This claim on the Pacific coast, which became the justification for English charters across America to the Atlantic coast, soon influenced further national expansion projects on the continent. Today, it is known as Point Reyes, California, a marine environment which is the setting of several small towns, ranches, and the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Hondius's (or his predecessors') use of multiple sources can be illustrated by this map of Asia, which shows Beijing three times: twice as Khanbaliq (Combalich in the land of "Kitaisk" on the Ob River, and Cambalu, in "Cataia") and once as Paquin (Beijing), in the prefecture of Xuntien (Shuntian) CEM-19-Asiae-nova-description-1610-Jodocus-Hondius-2538.jpg
Hondius's (or his predecessors') use of multiple sources can be illustrated by this map of Asia, which shows Beijing three times: twice as Khanbaliq (Combalich in the land of "Kitaisk" on the Ob River, and Cambalu, in "Cataia") and once as Paquin (Beijing), in the prefecture of Xuntien (Shuntian)

In 1593 he moved to Amsterdam, where he remained until the end of his life. In co-operation with the Amsterdam publisher Cornelis Claesz. in 1604 he purchased the plates of Gerard Mercator's Atlas from Mercator's grandson. Mercator's work had languished in comparison to the rival Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius. Hondius republished Mercator's work with 36 additional maps, including several which he himself had produced. Despite the addition of his own contributions, Hondius gave Mercator full credit as the author of the work, listing himself as the publisher. Hondius's new edition of Mercator's work was a great success, selling out after a year. Hondius later published a second edition, as well as a pocket version Atlas Minor. The maps have since become known as the "Mercator/Hondius series".

In the French edition of the Atlas Minor we find one of the first instances of a thematic map using map symbols. This is a map entitled Designatio orbis christiani (1607) showing the dispersion of major religions. [1]

Thematic map map specifically designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area

A thematic map is a type of map specifically designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic area.

Map symbolization characters, letters, or similar graphic representations used on a map to indicate an object or characteristic in the real world

Map symbolization is the characters, letters, or similar graphic representations used on a map to indicate an object or characteristic in the real world.

Between 1605 and 1610 he was employed by John Speed to engrave the plates for Speed's The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.

John Speed English cartographer and historian

John Speed was an English cartographer and historian. He is, alongside Christopher Saxton, one of the best known English mapmakers of the early modern period.

Hondius died, aged 48, in Amsterdam. After his death, his publishing work in Amsterdam was continued by his widow, two sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and son-in-law Johannes Janssonius, whose name appears on the Atlas as co-publisher after 1633. [2] Eventually, starting with the first 1606 edition in Latin, about 50 editions of the Atlas were released in the main European languages. In the Islamic world, the atlas was partially translated by the Turkish scholar Kâtip Çelebi. The series is sometimes called the "Mercator/Hondius/Janssonius" series because of Janssonius's later contributions.

Leo Belgicus (1611). Leo Belgicus.jpg
Leo Belgicus (1611).

Hondius's Mappa Aestivarum Insularum, alias Barmudas dictarum ... (Amsterdam c. 1633) is a famous map of Bermuda. The ‘Sea Venture’ under Sir George Somers was wrecked off Bermuda in 1609 and the surviving Englishmen divided the island into Tribes (later Parishes) and Shares, which are individually listed with their owners at the foot of the map. Shortly afterwards the Bermudas were granted to the Virginia Company, hence various references to the Company on the map including the distance to the Roanoke Colony in Virginia. The miniature map with its own scale, top left, shows the island's position relative to the Virginian coast. Hondius derived his map from Richard Norwood's survey which was carried out in 1622 and published by John Speed in 1627. Unlike this entry, which has Hondius working from survey material ten years after he died, it remains one of the most accurate and decorative maps of the period.

Portrayal of celestial globe in Vermeer's The Astronomer

Scholars have argued that the celestial globe depicted in celebrated 17th-century painter Johannes Vermeer's 1668 The Astronomer was based on a work by Hondius. It appears that Vermeer copied the design of a celestial globe offered for sale in 1618 in Amsterdam crafted by Hondius. The globe can be found in the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.


Hondius Inlet in Antarctica is named after Jodocus Hondius.

See also

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  1. Van der Dussen, Jan and Kevin Wilson (1995). The History of the Idea of Europe. Routledge. p. 28.
  2. "Venezuela with the Southern Part of New Andalusia". World Digital Library . 1612–1699. Retrieved 2013-10-25.