Valencia – Willem Blaeu, ca. 1640

THE KINGDOM OF VALENCIA “Valentia Regnum; Contestani, Ptol. Edentani, Plin.” [Kingdom of Valencia; “Contestani” according to Claudius Ptolomy, or “Edetani”…

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Valentia Regnum; Contestani, Ptol. Edentani, Plin.” [Kingdom of Valencia; “Contestani” according to Claudius Ptolomy, or “Edetani” according to Pliny]. Copper engraving published by Willem Blaeu around 1640. Verso: Latin text. With original hand colouring. Size: 50.5 x 38.5 cm.

Following the discovery of the Americas, the European economy shifted its focus towards the Atlantic, undermining Mediterranean trade. Despite the dynastic union of Aragon with Castile, the conquest and exploitation of America remained the exclusive domain of Castile. Consequently, Valencians, like the Catalans, Aragonese, and Majorcans, were barred from participating in transatlantic commerce.

This exclusion led to a severe economic crisis in Valencia. The crisis culminated in 1521 when artisan guilds revolted against the Habsburg King Charles I’s government in Valencia, now part of the Crown of Aragon.

The situation worsened in the 17th century with the expulsion of Jews and Moriscos (Muslims converted to Christianity) in 1609, leading to financial ruin for some nobles and the bankruptcy of the Taula de Canvi (central bank) in 1613. The Crown attempted to compensate the nobles, who had lost much of their agricultural labor force, which further damaged the city’s economy for generations.

Later, during the so-called Catalan Revolt (1640–1652), Valencia supported Philip IV with militias and money, resulting in further economic hardship, exacerbated by the arrival of troops from other parts of Spain.

It was in those turbulent times that Willem Blaeu had published this fine map of the Kingdom of Valencia. Oriented to the west and centered on the city of Valencia, it extends south to Murcia and Orihuella and north to Senia and inland as far as Teruel. The map is highly decorative and notes several rivers, towns, cities, bays and other topographic features throughout. Illustrations of ships and a sea monster adorn the Mediterranean Sea.

Euro 395,-