Braun-Hogenberg Map of Goa, 1509


Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg | ca. 1572

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Purported to be a “spy map”, this map depicting the City of Goa is dated in the year 1509, one year before the city was captured by the Portuguese.

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Purported to be a “spy map”, this map depicting the City of Goa is dated in the year 1509, one year before the city was captured by the Portuguese. Although rudimentary in appearance, most of the landscapes and buildings depicted in it seem to be factually correct.

The structures depicted in the map include the fortifications around the City of Goa (today’s Old Goa) and the city itself, the strategic town on Benastery (Banastarim) to its left, and, on its right, the Adil Shah’s palace, which still exists, in Pangura (today’s Panjim, the capital city of Goa). A shipyard is also seen close to the city walls.

The inscription on the map reads “Goa Fortissima Indiae Urbs in Christianorum Potestatem Anno Salutis 1509 Devenit”. Although marked as having been “drawn” in 1509, the map appeared only in 1572, in the first volume of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cities of the World), published in Cologne by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.

Featuring plans, bird’s-eye views, and maps for all major cities in Europe, plus important urban centers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this masterwork in urban mapping gives us a comprehensive view of city life at the turn of the 17th century. It was edited and annotated by theologian and publisher Georg Braun and largely engraved by Franz Hogenberg, but also involved over a hundred different artists and cartographers who contributed not only town views, but additional elements, such as figures in local dress, courtroom scenes, and topographical details, to help convey the situation, commercial power, and political influence of each city. Braun (1541-1622), a cleric of Cologne, was the principal editor of the work. Franz Hogenberg (1535-1590) was the son of a Munich engraver who settled in Malines.



Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg

Dimensions (H x W):

12.75 x 40.175


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About the Creators

Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as a Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius, a renowned mapmaker. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.

Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver, and a mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, his brother Remigius, uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.

During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. Some say he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius recommended Hogenberg for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.

It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. He died there in around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and died at around the same time as his brother.


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