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The Circulation of Global Cosmographical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe


Nuno Vila-Santa


Fabiano Bracht

José María Moreno Madrid


This research line focus on the processes of circulation of cosmographical knowledge between maritime rivals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By studying the ways in which nautical, cartographical and geographical knowledge circulated between Iberian powers and Northern European players (France, England and the Dutch Republic), this research line attempts to draw attention to the globalization of knowledge about the Earth, starting already in the sixteenth century and achieving a peak later with the “Scientific Revolution” and the Enlightenment. It also aims to show the importance of Iberian scientific knowledge exchanges to Northern Europe and how it affected the onset of French, English and Dutch maritime expansions. Additionally, this research line aims to demonstrate how imperial ambitions were intimately tied with scientific knowledge and also that the creation of maritime empires led to a globalization of science.


  • Blog posts (Reading RUTTERs – Travelling Cosmographical Knowledge between Elizabethan England and Valois France, A 16th-century Run for Gold and for… an Accurate Nautical Rutter?, Iberian Nautical Knowledge in the Renaissance: a Connected History, What is an Oceanic Nautical Rutter in the Renaissance Really?, Translating and Updating Iberian Knowledge in the Renaissance, Artisanal and Theoretical Knowledge in the Renaissance, Nautical Knowledge Exchanges at the Dutch Nautical School, Nautical Knowledge Exchanges in the Indian Ocean in the Renaissance
  • Book review of Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen, The Bookshop of the World. Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age
    New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2019, 485 pp.
  • Book review of Empires of the Sea. Maritime Networks in World History, Rolf Strootman, Floris van den Eijnde and Roy van Wijk (eds.), Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2020, 361 pp.
  • Presentation Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1562-1611), the Portuguese Empire and the Netherlands: transmission of knowledge in the second half of the XVI century, RUTTER Kick-off meeting, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, 17 January, 2020.
  • Presentation Documentos inéditos para a expedição Barreto-Homem ao Monomotapa (1569-1577): D. Sebastião, o Estado da Índia e a gestão do Império, Portuguese Naval Academy, February 2020 – recorded at:
  • Presentation O Itinerário de Linschoten: um retrato comercial holandês de um Estado da Índia declinante?, International Congress “Espelhos de Mercúrio. A Representação do Comércio nas Monarquias Ibéricas 1500-1800”, online, November 2020.
  • Presentation Travelling with and updating “secret” knowledge: Linschoten and the Iberian nautical rutters (1583-1596), Renaissance Society of America, online, April 2021.
  • Book launch Do Algarve, a Marrocos e a Índia: Francisco Barreto e a Casa de Quarteira (Séculos XV-XVI), Quarteira, May 2021.
  • Presentation Espionage and counter-espionage: France and England in the action of ambassador Dantas (1557-1568), Online Seminar La Genesis de la Globalizion, September 2021.


  • RUTTER Technical Note 09: Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1563-1611): An Annotated Bibliography
  • RUTTER Technical Note 04: The Portuguese India Run (16th-18th centuries): A Bibliography
  • A Chronicler or a Spy? Rethinking Jan Huygen van Linschoten and His Itinerario (accepted for publication in Modern Asian Studies)
  • Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Reys-gheschrift: Updating Iberian Science for the Dutch expansion (forthcoming in Historical Research)
  • Jan Huygen van Linschoten´s Itinerario: a decaying commercial portrait of Portuguese Asia? (forthcoming on CIDEHUS book collection)
  • Diplomacy, Humanism and Science: ambassador Jean Nicot and the French-Portuguese maritime rivalry (1559-1561) (submitted to the Sixteenth Century Journal)
  • Fighting for Mare Clausum and Secret Science: France, England and Spain in the strategies of ambassador Dantas (1557-1568) (submitted to Hispania)
  • Reporting for a King: Valois France and Europe through the eyes of ambassador Dantas (1557-1568) (submitted to French Historical Studies)
  • Documentos inéditos para a expedição Barreto-Homem ao Monomotapa (1569-1577): D. Sebastião, o Estado da Índia e a gestão do Império (with Pedro Pinto – forthcoming at Memories of the Naval Academy 2020)
  •  “Um Império e um monarca em “reforma”? D. Sebastião e o Estado da Índia em 1572: Um códice desconhecido na Biblioteca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro (índice e transcrições selecionadas (with Pedro Pinto – submitted to Revista de Fontes in Brazil)


  • Organization of Workshop Rethinking a case of global knowledge circulation: Jan Huygen van Linschoten and the Itinerario (planned for the second week of December 2021)
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