By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (December 13, 2022) – In Issue 2022-221 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we celebrate an important territorial discovery in history.      

Did He See the Devil?

Abel Tasman sailed to unchartered territories in Southeast Asia, the new continent and Oceania to discover opportunities for the Dutch East India Company.  The opportunities being lands to conquer and finding new plants and spices to sell back at home.

He was the first European to sight many new lands, including today’s Tasmania, Fiji and on December 13, 1642 the South Island of New Zealand and the native inhabitants, the Maori. 

Tasman’s ships reached Tasmania three weeks earlier, and he named it Van Diemen’s Land, after the Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company.  (A suck-up move.)  The captain’s diary indicates the expedition landed only in one bay, and they failed to see, apparently, a Tasmanian Devil.  (A big miss.)

New Zealand’s South Island and Tasmania are shown by Cram in this map from 1901.

New Zealand – South Island circa 1901 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.