Topographic descriptors on the early Dutch charts of the antipodes

Jan Tent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The early Dutch charts of coastal Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea are peppered not only with toponyms but also with topographic descriptors. The latter were intended as navigational aids and warnings for future navigators. Naming or describing a geographic feature is a method of distinguishing it from the surrounding topography. At times some topographic descriptors have been considered or interpreted as toponyms. This article explores whether there are any means of determining the difference between the two, and what may have been initially intended by the explorers who entered them on their manuscript charts. Reasons for the relevance of making such a distinction are also considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-290
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Cartography
Issue number3
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • toponyms
  • topographic descriptors
  • Dutch charts


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