Petrus Plancius ~ 1592

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      Petrus Plancius (Pieter Platevoet, "Peter Flatfoot") (1552-1622) was born in Flanders. He was a theologian and minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1585 he fled to Amsterdam to escape religious persecution. There he became interested in navigation and cartography, and became cartographer to the Dutch East India Company. In this capacity he produced over 100 individual maps and charts. Although some would characterize him as "a useful amateur," many see him as the most important personality after Mercator at the close of the sixteenth century. His work is not as well known as that of his contemporaries because he did not publish an atlas.
     In 1592 he published a world map Nova et exacta Terrarum Tabula geographica and hydrographica, which is the basis for the map in the background of the British stamp. Little of the detail present on the map is shown on the stamp. That which is shown is the St. Lawrence River system, and a part of an imaginary waterway at the top which Plancius believed would provide a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
     He was a close friend of Henry Hudson (1560-1611) who led two expeditions for the Muscovy Company and one for the East India Company which were intended to discover a passage between the two oceans by way of the North Pole.  Hudson had reservations about a polar passage, but he believed that a passage could be found in what he called "my Furious Overfall." In 1610 he sailed into the Furious Overfall, later named Hudson Strait. The crew mutinied and put him and loyal members of the crew adrift. The map reflects many of the ideas and fantasies connected with the search for a northern passage to the Pacific.

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