Gravelines (siege in 1644)
Date of first edition: 1649
Date of this map: 1649
Dimensions (not including margins): 45 x 57 cm
Condition: Very good. Strong paper and wide margins. Centre fold as published. Original colouring.
Condition rating: A+
Verso: text in Latin
Map references: Van der Krogt 4, 1460
From: Novum Ac Magnum Theatrum Urbinum Belgicae (Stedeboeck)
Gravelines (Grevelingen): double mention in history
Misfortunes never come singly. It is sometimes forgotten that the last period of the Eighty Years ‘War coincides with the Thirty Years’ War. This was a pan-European war between mainly Catholic (including the Austrian and Spanish Habsburgs) and (opposing to) Protestant countries (including England and Sweden), with sometimes varying coalitions. During the last phase of the Thirty Years’ War, France, though Catholic, joined the Protestant League. Under the impulse of Cardinal Richelieu, the weakened Spanish (Southern) Netherlands were invaded. In 1644, Gravelines, the southernmost coastal city in the county of Flanders, fell into French hands. Joan Blaeu’s map from 1649 shows the successful French siege, led by Gaston Jean-Baptiste, which is honored in the cartouche at the bottom right. The river Aa, the historic southern border of the Flemish county, lost this border function forever. Approximately 60 years earlier, another historic event took place off the coast of Gravelines: on August 8, 1588, the coastal town witnessed the destruction of the storm-weakened Spanish Armada by the smaller English fleet led (inter alia) by Francis Drake, Martin Frobisher and John Hawkins. The Spanish goal, to invade England, was lost forever. The fleet was devastated and thereafter had to make a fateful cruise around England and Ireland.