Georg Markgraf as natural historian, surveyor, and map-maker in Brazil 1638–1643
Cartographica Helvetica 8 (1993) 44–46
Between 1638 and 1643, Georg Markgraf, a naturalist from Saxony, participated in the exploration of the Dutch colony 'Brasilia Belgica' which was governed by Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen since 1636. While sailing along the coast, Markgraf mapped the coastal regions. He took part in several expeditions into the interior, where he made astronomical measurements, analysed the fauna and flora and studied the ethnography as well as regional traditions.
His main achievement was the cartographic material he brought back (which Joan Blaeu used for his regional maps) and a large wall map of Brazil. They show in detail the coastal region and some inland rivers between the Rio Grande in the north and the Rio São Francisco in the south.
Markgraf's maps of Brazil became famous and were often copied, even well into the 18th century. The results of this natural research, especially in botany, are also worth mentioning. He can be considered as the most important German explorer in Brazil during the 17th century.