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Astronomer, Cartographer and Naturalist of the New World

The Life and Scholarly Achievements of Georg Marggrafe (1610-1643) in Colonial Dutch Brazil. Volume 1: Life, Work and Legacy

400 pages
Amsterdam University Press
This volume, Volume 1, presents Marggrafe’s stunning biography. Volume 2 consists of a text edition of his astronomical legacy, prepared for the printing press in the 1650s, but only now finalized and published.

Georg Marggrafe (1610-1643) is today hailed as the principal author of an influential account of the natural history of Northern Brazil and as compiler of the first accurate map of the area, which is considered as one of the most elegant products of seventeenth-century Dutch cartography. But initial he had the ambition to become known in astronomy. With the support Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, then governor-general of colonial Dutch Brazil, he built in Recife the first European-style astronomical observatory on the South-American continent, where he systematically charted the southern stars. He intended to supplement the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, who charted the Northern sky half a century before. But Marggrafe’s untimely death (and the negligence of a Leiden professor) prevented the publication of his valuable observations. As a result, Marggrafe did not achieve fame in astronomy, but instead became famous for his equally remarkable other achievements.
Author Bio
Dr. Huib Zuidervaart, retired senior researcher (2007-2019) at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (KNAW). Former editor-in-chief of the Dutch Journal for the History of Science and Universities, Studium. Former book review editor of ISIS, official Journal of the History of Science Society. Dr. Oscar Matsuura is a retired professor at the University of São Paulo, remaining engaged in several projects, mainly in the History of Astronomy in Brazil.