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Map of New Zealand (State Land)


Map of New Zealand (State Land)

Gilsemans, Isaac

On 13 December the Zeehaen and Heemskerck sighted what we now know as the South Island of New Zealand. After sailing along its northwest coast for several days the ships anchored on 18th December in what is now Golden Bay. Here the expedition’s leadership resolved to find a place to go ashore and look for supplies. After making contact with the local Maori, a violent encounter ensued on December 19th in which several Dutch crewmembers were killed. Sailing onwards, the expedition traversed what is now known as Cook Strait. Despite suspicions of a passage into the Pacific Ocean, it failed to find the gap between South Island and North Island that would later be discovered by James Cook. In late December and early January the ships followed the coast of North Island until on January 4th they passed what they called Cape Maria van Diemen. This was the western-most part of North Island. They also observed to their northwest, which they named the Three Kings Island. They approached the island, known today as Great Island or Manawatāwhi and anchored there on January 5th.-Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, likely drew this map of New Zealand in Abel Tasman's journal. It shows the various places observed and visited by the expedition.-The mainland of which the bend and sand dunes are part is called ‘State Landt’ in these panels. This name was given due to a misconception. The name ‘State Land’ had been given previously to an island observed near Tierra del Fuego in South America by Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten. They had in turn mistaken this island for a large mainland, which they thought might be connected to the great Southern Continent that Tasman was looking for. They named this land ‘State Land’, after the Dutch States-General. Tasman’s best guess was that the island he discovered was connected to the State Land discovered by Schouten and Le Maire, but this idea was soon abandoned in subsequent years.

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Sources and literature

Posthumus Meyjes, De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher, ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland (Australië) in 1642 - 1644. (1919)