Typus Frei Magellanic quod Giorguis Spilbergius cum classe lusgravit.
RENÉ DE RENNEVILLE
A rare and intriguing map of the Strait of Magellan published by René-Auguste-Constantin de Renneville in his Receuil des voyages qui ont servi a l'établissement de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales aux Provinces Unies, 1705. His map of the Magellan Strait was made to illustrate Joris van Spilbergen’s, a naval officer in the Dutch navy, navigation through the Strait in 1614. The map depicts both the Magellan Strait and Spilbergen's voyage through it.
It is interesting to note that, in a similar fashion to Francis Drake, the purpose of Spilbergen’s voyage through the Strait in 1614 with a fleet of five ships, was to raid Spanish settlements along the Western coast of America and then continue his circumnavigation of the globe before returning to the Dutch Republic in 1617. The Dutch Republic were at this time undergoing its war of independence from Spain in what is commonly referred to The Dutch War of Independence from 1568 to 1648.
Cartographically, Renneville’s map is derived from De Bry's Fretum Magellanicum, und design eigentliche Beschribung… which was published in 1602 in his Grandes Voyages. However, although Renneville keep’s de Bry’s orientation with the South facing upwards, his depiction of the terrain is inappropriate. Although the region is indeed mountainous, the rich vegetation is somewhat optimistic if not thoroughly incorrect with the flora being more appropriate for warmer climes.
Nevertheless, the map serves as a reminder of the importance that the Magellan Strait played in serving as an important artery to the heart of the Spanish possessions in America. Up and coming powers, such as England and the breakaway Dutch Republic, used this treacherous body of water to inflict damaging blows to the hegemonic power held by Spain in the Americas.