Linschoten's chart of the Arabian peninsula and India
By LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huyghen , 1598

The description of the coast of Abex, The Straights of Meca, otherwise called the Red Sea, the coastes of Arabia, Ormus and Persia etc., [title also in Latin].

Asia Middle East
  • Author: LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huyghen
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: John Wolfe
  • Publication date: 1598
  • Physical description: Engraved map extending from the Horn of Africa to Sumatra by way of Arabia and the Indian sub-continent, backed with fine tissue, tear to left part of map skilfully repaired.
  • Dimensions: 400 by 520mm (15.75 by 20.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1248


Linschoten’s work was a significant advance in the mapping of India and the Middle East. As noted by Tibbetts, the surprising fact about the representation of the (Arabian) peninsula is the close resemblance of the outline to that of a modern map when compared with other engraved maps of the time. Linschoten’s maps are styled after Portuguese portolan charts of the 16th century, upon which the map is based.

Linschoten acquired most of the information for the map while serving as the secretary to the Portuguese archbishop in Goa, India from 1583 to 1589. Of particular value were the sailing guides he obtained that not only provided the best sailing routes to the East Indies and its lucrative spice trade but also showed the way from port to port once there. Upon his return to the Netherlands, Linschoten published these documents with accompanying maps and his own descriptions of the area in his monumental Itinerario. Few books have had greater influence on historical events.


  1. Tibbetts 46.