click here to zoom
13 ¼ x 18 ½ inches. Fine hand color; a few, small stains in upper margin, else excellent condition.
One of relatively few engravings by Braun & Hogenberg of non-European locales. The earliest acquirable European view of Aden in Yemen, the Arabian port commanding the passage between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Also pictured are Mombasa in Kenya, Kilwa in Tanzania, and Sofala in Mozambique, all on the east coast of Africa. All four cities had been key stages in the network of Arab ports from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. By the mid-16th century, Portugal had captured the three African ports. Though Portugal had attempted to take Aden in 1513, the assault was a failure and the town never became a Portuguese possession. Indeed, of all the cities pictured, Aden is the most recognizably Muslim, showing numerous minarets. The old city, situated at the bottom of a volcanic crater, is depicted surrounded by mountaintop fortresses. On the waterfront, ships are shown under construction while Arab galleys and European cogs lie at anchor.