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William Baffin: A Description of East India conteyning the Empire of the Great Mogoll

Map: IC2437
Cartographer: William Baffin
Title: A Description of East India conteyning the Empire of the Great Mogoll
Date: 1625
Published: London
Width: 14 inches / 36 cm
Height: 11 inches / 28 cm
Map ref: IC2437
This is the first commercially available regional map of India, the first of the country published in English and the source map for all 17th century European maps of the Moghul Empire. It was based on primary sources gathered by Sir Thomas Roe during his embassy to the court of the Moghul Emperor, Jahangir in 1615 -19. The map was drawn by William Baffin (of Baffin's Bay fame) on Roe's return journey and first issued as a separate publication in 1619. Only one known example of that edition exists, now in the British Library. Samuel Purchas published his edition of this map in 1625 to accompany excerpts of Roe's journal of his expedition to the Moghul Court, which appeared in Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas, his Pilgrimages; these were popular accounts of highly important voyages by English mariners and the maps played an integral part in establishing the importance of early English exploration of far lands. The work contained several extremely important maps, including this one, which is the first commercially avialble map of this region. The Baffin-Roe map, as it has become known, represents an enormous step forward in the geographical knowledge of one of the most exotic parts of the world, fabled for its culture, exoticism and wealth since classical times. Together with its connection to the East India Comapny, it could also be said that it was one of the founding cartographic documents of the relationship between Britain and India.