The archives of the de Bersacques family are unique and are kept in the State Archives in Kortrijk (Belgium). Several members of this family were surveyors from the second half of the sixteenth century until the first half of the eighteenth century. This archive contains measurement reports, plans, figurative maps, etc. of the southern part of West Flanders. There are also a few documents concerning East Flanders, Hainaut and northern France.
The best-known member of the family is undoubtedly the surveyor-topographer Louis de Bersacques (ca 1586-1646). As a sworn surveyor of the Kortrijk châtellenie, he acquired a monopoly on the mapping of this region.
In this family archive, we find numerous measurement reports, but also a few sketches and a pen-and-ink drawing, the final version of which is often unknown.
This collection, which comprises almost five linear metres and 1 610 archival documents from the years 1578-1744, has been fully digitised by the State Archives and is available for consultation online.
These documents mainly concern the southern part of West Flanders (Kortrijk, Bellegem, Wevelgem, Moorsele, Dadizele, Rekkem, Menin, Marke, Rollegem, Waregem, Langemark, Lauwe, etc.). There are also a few documents concerning East Flanders (Beveren), Hainaut (Tournai, Mouscron, Dottignies) and northern France (Tourcoing).
It should be noted that the Hainaut towns are noted in Dutch (e.g. Tournai => Doornik). The search in the inventory must therefore be carried out using Dutch terms.
The State Archives in Arlon have also a series of forest maps dating from the years 1618 and 1619 by Louis and Jean de Bersacques: ban and wood of Notre Dame in the Provostry of Orchimont, a wood of the gruerie of Virton, wood of Chesnel in the northwest of Marbehan, La Sarte on the River of Semois.
Let us mention the article of K. Solchenbach (University of Luxemburg, Institute for History) entitled Comparing old maps with cartometric methods – A case study with Bayesian data analysis about the calculation of the planimetric accuracy of old maps; the test case concerns two old maps of the region between the Meuse and Rhine rivers, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg and the greater region, with parts of Belgium, France and
Germany, i.e. The Luxemburg map of Gerhard Mercator, published in his atlas from 1585 on and The Luxemburg published in Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum from 1579 on.
Cartes, atlas, géographies, cosmographies, récits, paysages et vues de villes s’entrecroisent et constituent le laboratoire de l’émergence d'un nouveau regard sur le monde. Ce numéro exceptionnel sur Penser les savoirs géographiques entre le XVe et le XIXe siècle tend à identifier les contextes intellectuels et les pratiques qui éclairent la caractérisation et le statut du savoir géographique à des époques successives et à comprendre l’articulation de ces grands moments. Dans le discours géographique, au-delà de la description de l’espace et de l’ailleurs, se dévoile un discours multiscalaire sur soi, sur le territoire, l’identité et le rapport au monde.
It includes an article by our Member Colin Dupont: Du texte à l’image. Les plans de Jacques de Deventer, un exemple d’appropriation cartographique de l’espace ?
An article by Nathan Braccio in Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, University of Pennsylvania Press, Volume 19, Number 3, Summer 2021
This article argues that English colonists in New England chose not to make maps between 1620 and 1642 because they had more suitable techniques and technologies available to them, including the superior knowledge of their Algonquian neighbors and their own traditional approaches to measuring land. However, internal and external pressures eventually forced the colonists to begin making maps. As population and demand for land rapidly increased in New England in the 1640s and beyond, the early attempts of the English at cooperative distribution of land were abandoned in favor of a system that emphasized private property, and, consequently, precise boundaries. In these new circumstances, maps served as a powerful tool that settlers used to claim land and defend it from encroachment. Finally, the creation of the Dominion of New England and the arrival of royal officials and map makers in the 1680s completed the transition to a cartographic spatial culture. Despite this, New Englanders had ignored revolutionary developments in map making taking place in England for decades and created a spatial culture unique to New England.
The Journal of Map and Geography Libraries announces the publication of a special issue devoted to the topic of provenance, entitled That Map Belonged to Somebody: The Importance of Provenance to Map Librarians. The editors anticipate that this issue will be of interest to the staff and friends of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, as the final article provides a history of the Geography and Map Division’s Summer Project programme, which spanned the last half of the twentieth century. In addition, this issue includes a remembrance of Ed Redmond, while the other articles touch on the Library of Congress in one way or another. The introductory editorial and abstracts of all the articles are currently available online, as are the full articles for subscribers to the journal. The hard copy version of this issue will appear later this year.
From 14 July 2021, the website of the Tchiweka Documentation Association (ATD) is open to the public, putting online a large part of the archive that, since 2006, its Documentation Center has been managing, organizing and expanding.
Starting with the thousands of documents collected by Lúcio Lara “Tchiweka” (1929-2016), a well-known combatant of the Angolan liberation struggle and a prominent leader of the MPLA, the archive has increased its collection with other personal contributions and with the Project “Angola – Paths to Independence” (2010-2015).
This online archive has digitized several documents that may be of interest to map historians, including an 89-page manuscript letter by a Cuban combatant on map reading.
Link to the maps : https://www.tchiweka.org/pesquisa?keys=mapa&page=0.