The itineraries of geography: Jan huygen van linschoten's itinerario and Dutch expeditions to the indian ocean, 1594-1602

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Abstract

JanHuygen van Linschoten's 1596 Itinerario, published in Amsterdam just beforeDutch world hegemony, opened the Indian Ocean world for the European geographical imagination, especially regarding its spice markets and non-Christian cultures. Linschoten confirmed rumors in Europe that the Portuguese Estado dáIndia had become decadent and unstable, especially in its capital Goa. He also mentioned the absence of Portuguese control in the market of Bantam, which would become the capital of Dutch Indonesia. In addition, the book disclosed nautical and economic information about the Indian Ocean until then carefully guarded by the Portuguese, especially about the Spice Islands. In fact, the book's navigational section was published early so it could be on board the so-called First Voyage organized by the Dutch. This article discusses the main features that made the cartographic, cultural, and economic information of the Itinerario crucial to this historical expedition. Historicizing the discipline of geography is indispensable for understanding how travel and technology affect what can be known of the planet. Following Foucault's understanding of the production of knowledge, the central argument is that the Itinerario inaugurated a leap in the Dutch geographical "episteme" and a new struggle for the Indian Ocean. Linschoten's humanist scholarship was from the start a multiplicity of knowledges and voices that could be read and used in many ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-177
Number of pages29
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Keywords

  • Dutch colonialism
  • Epistemology
  • History of geography
  • Indian ocean
  • Travel writing

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