The global economic (and often military) war for the spice trade raged fiercely in the 17th and 18th centuries. Both the Dutch and English East India Companies (royal monopolies were seen as lucrative alternatives to government expeditions) were interested in the famed islands in Indonesia to cash in on profits previously obtained by Arab middlemen.

Banten, on the island of Java, was one contested location that teetered between various European powers. It’s shown here oriented with south at the top and a number of different sailing vessels in the foreground – possibly even a funerary raft? A protected harbor sits adjacent from the beach of a walled city in which two canals and a handful of buildings, including the Great Mosque, can be seen.

The view was created by Pieter Van der Aa and published in Leiden in 1717 as part of Jean Mandelslo’s “Voyage de Perse aux Indes Orientales.” This epic travelogue details the voyages of Jean-Albert (Johan Albrecht) Mandelslo – a German diplomat who traveled to Russian and Persia in the late 1630’s on a political mission for the Duke of Holstein but was separated from his group.

He would carry on through India, Ceylon, and Madagascar before returning home to write about his travels. Information on the Far East, including the Spice Islands, was included in the publication, but garnered from other sources.

For more information, or to purchase the view, please visit the Curtis Wright Maps store page here.