Waghenaer's exceedingly rare pilot book, with charts of the East and West Indies
By WAGHENAER, Lucas Janszoon , 1602

Thresoor Der Zeevaert Inhoudede de geheele Navigatie ende Schipvaert vade Oostersche, Noortsche, Westersche en Middlelantsche Zee…

  • Author: WAGHENAER, Lucas Janszoon
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Cornelius Claesz.
  • Publication date: ?1602
  • Physical description: Oblong 4to (210 by 285 mm), smal areas of infilling throughout, pages trimmed, six leaves in facsimile (title, A2, A3, A4, B, B4), 28 double-page engraved charts (map of Trinidad in facsimile), contemporary limp vellum, manuscript author name to spine, remnants of ties.

    Collation: A2-E2, 1 l. unsigned, E3-H4, A4-G4, H3, HH3, 3 l. unsigned, I4-K4, 1 l. unsigned, L4-N4, O4-V4, X3, 1 l. blank, Y4-Z4, aa4-cc4, dd5, 1 l. unsigned.
  • Inventory reference: 10857


In around 1589, Waghenaer sold the rights to his previous pilot book, the ‘Speighel der Zeevaert’, to the Amsterdam publisher Cornelius Claesz. He had for sometime been mulling over the production of a new and improved pilot, charting the southern and northern navigation. He had reached the conclusion that the folio format of the ‘Speighel’ was too unwieldy for use aboard ship, and that the text was not detailed enough.

The results of his endeavours was published by François van Raphelengien in 1592 in Leiden. For the new work he chose a smaller oblong format, with coastal profiles within the text. The new work consists of three parts: part one a treatise on navigation, far more detailed than the one that appeared in the ‘Spiegel’; the second part contains 20 charts together with 166 pages of sailing directions, in 21 sections, for the Western, Eastern and Northern navigations; with northern Scotland and the White Sea illustrated for the first time in a printed pilot. In another first, the third part consists of sailing directions for the Mediterranean. The charts themselves are on a scale of 1:600,000, with the coastlines drawn in profile and the entrances to ports exaggerated; lines of bearing are drawn in the direction of prominent landmarks.

The work was published in Dutch and French and proved so successful that the plates were so worn by 1600. New ones were engraved by Benjamin Wright, Josua van den Ende, and the van Doetecum family. In 1602 – the present edition – was published with an appendix which included sailing directions and charts of the Dutch East and West Indies. ” This edition shows the first Dutch attempts to break into the Portuguese empire in the East (the spice trade) and to penetrate the Spanish empire in the West (the trade in salt)” (Schilder).

Rare. Koeman records only two institutional examples of this edition: the Rotterdam Maritime Museum; and University Library Amsterdam.


  1. Koeman Wag 20.
  2. Günter Schiller & Marco van Egmond, Maritime Cartography in the Low Countries during the Renaissance, in History of Cartography Vol. III. p. 1384-1432, [Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007]

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