Meeting Travbuddy NovaBelgica (Tim) in Copenhagen
Copenhagen Travel Blog› entry 110 of 570 › view all entries
I had been friends on TB with NovaBelgica (Tim) since June 2007 and we had finally a possibility to meet in Copenhagen of all places. Tim was having a couple of his magnificent pieces of art in a gallery not far from where I am living.
I couldn’t stop smiling at the fact that we once lived 50-60 km from each other and then we finally meet when there is 1000 km between us; but I guess that is what TB is about, meeting people from all over either virtually or in real.
The gallery where Tim had his pieces is situated in a street that probably has one of the most difficult spellings in the entire country of Denmark; Oehlenschlaegersgade. I am sure that the Post has seen loads of variations of this name on letters.
It was really nice meeting them and it is funny how well you know each other after years of commenting each other’s trips.
After coming home I suddenly had an urge to look in to Tim’s name NovaBelgica and it turned out that from 1615, the region between Virginia and New-England was named New-Belgium (Novum Belgium, Novo Belgio, Nova Belgica, Novi Belgii) or New-Netherlands.
The name of Belgium referred to the ancient Netherlands; which covered a good part of the North of France and Lorraine, Belgium, Luxembourg and the present Netherlands. Its inhabitants were called the Belgians.
Besides, numerous maps from the sixteenth century showed this territory under the name of Belgium.
Several seals of this period remind us that the territories surrounding the future New York were called New-Belgium. A first seal from 1623, bears a beaver - at the time, the trappers were almost the only ones to exploit the country -, encircled by the words "Sigillum Novi Belgii". The seal of the New-Amsterdam from 1654 mention "Sigillum Amstellodamensis in Novo Belgio"
After Henry Hudson’s rediscovery in 1609 of the river that now bears his name, rapid progress was made in the mapping of New York. Most of the maps of southern New York that appeared in the first three-quarters of the seventeenth century were the work of Dutch explorers and cartographers.
Hudson and his successors quickly determined the configuration of the Hudson River up to the limits of its navigability. In 1613/14, Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer and fur trader, sailed around Long Island, and sketched out its overall appearance.
The 1635 Blaeu map of New Netherland and New England reflects these early Dutch explorations. It is largely based on a manuscript map; the famous "Adriaen Block Chart"; of 1614. Long Island (called Matowacs on this map), is shown as broken up by waterways-a feature taken from the Block Chart. Lake Champlain is still displaced far to the east; a feature which Block copied from an unpublished map by Champlain.
A number of important place names make their first cartographic appearance on this map. These include "Manhates" (Manhattan), "Hellegat" (Hell Gate), and "Adrian Blocks eylandt" (Block Island).
The beginnings of Dutch settlement in this area are reflected in the place names "New Amsterdam" and "Fort Orange" (near Albany). The numerous Dutch place names along the coast of New England are mostly copied from the Block chart, although Plymouth is added.
This and other early Dutch maps are important sources of information about local Indians. A number of tribes are named, including the Mohawks ("Maques") and Mohegans ("Mahikans"). Birch bark and dugout canoes are shown, as well as somewhat fancifully drawn Indian settlements. American wildlife, including turkey and beaver, are also illustrated. These illustrations, which were frequently copied on later maps, were important sources of information about life in the New World for Europeans who remained at home.