2. The Thirty Years' War: the Swedish military map by Olof Hansson Svart

The second original map of Brandenburg owed its rise to the military activities of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf during the Thirty Years' War. In 1630 the Swedes landed troops at Usedom Island at the Baltic coast to support the protestant forces against the imperial armies and to prevent an imperial invasion of Sweden. The Swedish "theatre de guerre" comprised wide regions south of the Baltic coast. The Mercator map of 1585, however, could not be used as cartographic base for planning and realising military activities, among them supplying the troops with food and fodder. At this time the Swedish standard of military logistics and equipment was a very high one and that is why the engineer-in-chief of Gustav Adolf, Olof Hansson Svart (1600-1644), very soon completed a manuscript map of Brandenburg; this map still is kept in the Military Archives in Stockholm whereas I found a contemporary copy of this manuscript in the Military Archives in Vienna. Svart had been cartographically educated by Anders Bure (1571-1646), the "father of the Swedish cartography", and got experience in military mapping during his stay in Eastern Prussia in 1626. With regard to the relatively large scale 1 : 350 000 and its reliable topographic contents this map had been the successful result of systematic and professional data collection in the field carried through by military officers. The way of data collection can be reconstructed by comparing the positions of the Swedish headquarter and military units in 1630 und 1631 on one hand and the density and reliability of topographic map details on the other. Even the toponyms of villages are exceptional correct and must have been found out on the spot. Neither these activities had been combined with any topographic or geodetic measurements - impossible due to the permanent military actions and the lack of survey specialists - nor were supported by the Elector George William of Brandenburg, the brother-in-law of Gustav Adolf.

The main objective of Svart's work in 1630/31 to serve as a military map can be inferred by the most reliable and most complete map details:

These features reflect the indispensable information to pass quickly through an area for military purposes at that time:

The manusript map of Brandenburg was taken to Amsterdam by Anders Bure where first of all the publishing house Janssonius since 1641, later on the publishing house Blaeu since 1662 edited a map series comprising a general map of Brandenburg and several regional maps in larger scales. These sheets replaced the Mercator map edited 1585.

At this time the autochthonous cartographic activities in Brandenburg had produced some large scale town plans only. Topographic information necessary to complete a military map like Svart did were not yet available in the country itself. And it may be mentioned that among the imperial armies which fought against the Swedes there is no evidence of any cartographic efforts comparable to those of Olof Hansson Svart who completed several military maps of German regions in Saxony and at the coast of the North Sea after having left Brandenburg.

In the same way as the previous period the 17th century can be characterized as a heteronomous period with regard to the cartography of this territory. The cartographic incentive of intellectual pleasure and the data collection via correspondence which dominated during the 15th and 16th centuries now were replaced by the pressure of war and the compiling of data on a general staff's table just having come in from the field.

Let us make a little digression at this point. In many antiquarian and bibliographic catalogues the maps by Olof Hansson Svart are announced in a strange manner by translating "Authore Olao Iohannis Gotho" as "Olof John Gothus" or "Olof John the Goth". And even in reliable catalogues of minor public map collections you should look for his maps under the entry "Gothus".

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