Low Countries Old City & Battle Plans

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Sluis Zeeland, Slusa, Teutonicae Flandriae, Guicciardini 1588.
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Sluis Zeeland, Slusa, Teutonicae Flandriae, Guicciardini 1588.



17th-century map provides a detailed bird's-eye view of Sluis, a charming town in Zeeland Holland.

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Slusa, Teutonicae Flandriae Opp. Admodum elegans.

A beautiful 17th century image of Sluis

This captivating 17th-century map provides a detailed bird's-eye view of Sluis, a charming town in Zeeland, Flanders. The carefully crafted copper engraving, enriched with vibrant hand colors, depicts the urban layout of the city, including prominent landmarks such as churches and gates, set amid the surrounding terrain.
The map is rich in historical value and serves as a window into Sluis' past.

Mapmaker: Guicciardini Lodovico (1521–1589) was an Italian writer and merchant from Florence who lived primarily in Antwerp from 1542 or earlier.

A legendary past

Sluis has a fascinating history. Located at the mouth of the Zwyn, which silted up around 1550, the city flourished during the Middle Ages as a crucial outport for Bruges. Moreover, from 1382 onwards, Sluis fulfilled a strategic role as a fortified town that guarded the Flemish border. The creation of the map coincides with a period of important historical events. For example, on June 24, 1340, during the Hundred Years' War, the English emerged victorious in a crucial naval battle against a combined French and Genoese fleet near Sluis.


Evolving fortifications

The fortifications around Sluis have undergone constant adjustments over the centuries to adapt to advances in warfare. Rulers who controlled Flanders over time each contributed to the city's defensive structures. The end of the 16th century in particular witnessed the strengthening of the city walls in response to the looming threat of Spanish troops.

Unveiling of the monuments of Sluis

The map offers a glimpse into some of Sluis's most important historical sights:

Oostpoort (Oostpoort): Built between 1425 and 1432, the Oostpoort served as a crucial entry point. Spanish troops tried in vain to enter the city through this gate in 1606.

South Gate: Initially built of wood, the South Gate was later replaced in 1406 by a more robust stone structure. This gate provided access to Sluis from the direction of Aardenburg.

De Stenen Beer (Stenen Beer): The imposing ruins of the Westpoort or Brugse Poort are also called the Stone Bear. This gate replaced an earlier gate that was destroyed by the Bruges troops in 1437.

Sas van Sluis (Sluis van Sluis): Completed in 1456 after a twelve-year construction project, this impressive stronghold housed an armory and a barracks. A drawbridge provided access to the city, while a network of underground passageways ensured safe movement within the complex. Heavy stone walls provided formidable protection. Despite its strength, the Duke of Parma captured the city in 1587, leading to the destruction of the gate.

A remarkable artifact

This original 17th century map is in full color and illustrates the art of copper plate engraving. The map measures 38 x 33 inches (sheet size) or 15 x 13 centimeters. The image itself measures 31.5 x 23.5 centimeters. The map is in remarkable condition for its age, showing only minor discoloration along the borders. To complement the historic charm, the map features handwritten notes on the back.