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La Rochelle, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1597

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Rochella Munitissimum Galliae Opp:.

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Item Number:  23965
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > France

Old map - bird's-eye plan of La Rochelle by Braun and Hogenberg, with a French key to locations.

CARTOUCHE BOTTOM LEFT: La Rochelle, fortified town in Gaul.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "La Rochelle is a city in France and highly famed because of its position on the Atlantic Ocean. It is extraordinary how well-fortified it is, with massive and strong ramparts and parapets, and how astonishingly pleasant its position is. La Rochelle has been granted higher privileges and freedoms than all other cities by the kings, so that the citizens have the power to elect among themselves a mayor and aldermen, who preside over the city assiduously. They permit no outside government, no soldiers, not even a castle for their protection and defence, nor do they have any need of one; the sole exception is a tower in which they keep their instruments of war."

The engraving shows La Rochelle from the northeast in a bird's-eye view. In the harbour area can be seen the characteristic towers of the city fortifications: on the right the Tour de la Lanterne (1), on the left next to it the Tour de la Chaine (14) and the Tour Saint-Nicolas (13). In the middle of the city is the Renaissance town hall, Hôtel de ville, with its tall, narrow bell tower. La Rochelle was founded in the 10th century and just 200 years later had the biggest harbour on the Atlantic coast. In 1137 La Rochelle was made a free port; in 1199 it was granted a town charter that freed it from feudal domination. This resulted in the city being able to elect a mayor and have its own jurisdiction, which at the time was unprecedented in the history of France. During the Hundred Years' War, the naval battle of La Rochelle took place in 1372, in which France succeeded in wresting control over the English Channel from the English. In the 16th century the city became a centre of the Huguenots and resisted besiegement by the Catholics - until Cardinal Richelieu was able to occupy it on behalf of Louis XIII.

The engraving was made after a view in Münster's Cosmographia, 1574.

Date of the first edition: 1575
Date of this map: 1597

Copper engraving
Size: 32 x 35.5cm (12.5 x 13.8 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Uncoloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 2219; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.160.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, ... Part 2: De Praecipuis, Totius Universi Urbibus, Liber Secundus. Köln, Bertram Buchholz, 1597. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.2)