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View of Fort Nassau, Guinea


View of Fort Nassau, Guinea

Vingboons, Johannes

Title on object: ’t Fort Nassau, gelegen op de custe van Guinea

Fort Nassau was built in 1612 and came under WIC jurisdiction in 1621. The fort defended Dutch trade interests in the region against European competitors, initially mainly the Portuguese. Where the trade initially mostly consisted of gold and ivory in exchange for textiles (for which the region was known as the Gold Coast), it was later mainly used to buy enslaved people for the Dutch plantation colonies in South America and the Caribbean.

The watercolour shows the impressive fort which towers over the trade settlement Morée and several smaller surrounding villages. In the foreground a canoe with African rowers, commanded by a Dutchman.

Legend A through X.

Other copies: Vatican Library Reg. Lat. 2107, fol. 43r. (Available through the digital collections of the Vatican itself); British Library, Add. MS 33976 I (not yet digitally available).

Part of the Carte di Castello, collected by Cosimo de Medici III in 1667 and 1669 during his tours through Europe. Cosimo III bought the 66 watercolours by Vingboons in December 1667 in Amsterdam, through mediation of Pieter Blaeu.

Please contact Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

Corbellini, Sabrina and Cattaneo, Angelo, The Global Eye: Dutch Spanish and Portugese maps in the collections of the Grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici (2019)