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, a modified version of 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.