Details: MOLL, Herman. [Belgium] Les Provinces des Pays-bas Catholiques ou A Most Exact map of Flanders or Austrian Netherlands &c. It comprehends all the Towns, Villages, Abbeys, Monasteries Throughout all these Provinces, &c. London: H. Moll; D. Midwinter and T. Bowles, [c. 1720]. Engraved, hand-colored in outline. Margins browned. Sheet size: 25 1/4 x 40 1/2".
A map of the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands, the region that became Belgium and Luxembourg
Herman Moll came to London in about 1678 from Germany or Holland and worked as an engraver for, among others, Moses Pitt. He clearly had a talent for making interesting friends (these included Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and William Dampier, explorer/buccaneer) and for making interesting maps. In fact, he consistently produced intriguing, enjoyable maps.
This map of present day Belgium, then the Spanish or Catholic Netherlands, was made close to the end of Queen Anne's reign,(1701- 1714). The dedication to James, Duke of Ormond, reads "Captain General in Her Majesty's Forces". A note about a boundary agreement made at the end of 1715, under George I, was undoubtedly added to the original plate a year or two later.
This region had been frequently involved in wars conducted on its territory by its neighbors and their allies, generally, the British and Dutch versus the French. The most recent, the War of the Spanish Succession, 1701-1714, had begun with the occupation of forts on the Dutch/Spanish Netherlands border by the French. Later, several major battles were fought in this region. A considerable line of French forts, the "barrier", prevented an invasion of France and helped bring about a negotiated peace. The inset plan of a generic, early 18th century, fortification is therefore more appropriate than it might seem at first. There are two more insets: "A Map of the Roads from Paris Valenciene, Cambray, Arras &c." and "The South Part of Luxembourgh..." (the southern tip of Luxembourg).
At the bottom in English and French, Moll gives the source for the map, which was a 21 sheet survey, published in Brussels by Mr. Fricz. EugÃ¨ne Henri Fricx or Friex died in 1733. He published the map referred to: Pays Bas, in 1712
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