Joan Blaeu I was born and died in Amsterdam. His father, Willem Blaeu, had, in 1596, founded a firm of globe and instrument makers which expanded to publish maps, topographical engravings and sea charts. Joan continued to run the business after his father’s death, collaborating with his brother, Cornelius. In 1638, Joan succeeded his father as official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company. With his son, Joan Blaeu II, he published maps, atlases and town plans, including ‘Nouvus Atlas’ (1634) and a version of ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’ (up to 1655). In 1672 a fire destroyed the firm’s premises, equipment, plates and stock, effectively ruining the company. Blaeu died the following year and, the remnants of the firm passed to his son.
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