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Nouvelle carte d'Islande

Jón Eiríksson/Gerhard Schøning
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In 1752 two Icelanders, Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson, were sent to Iceland from Copenhagen to carry out a scientific reconnaissance of the country. They pursued their researches for the next six summers, until 1757. It was Eggert's role to record the results, but he was drowned in Breidafjördur before the book could be printed, so that others had to see to its publication. Two excellent men were selected for the task, Jón Eiríksson and Gerhard Schøning. The book was was accompanied by a new map of Iceland. The source is the Homanns map of 1761 which in turn was based on the map by Thomas Hans Henrik Knoff from 1734. The location of the country and the coastlines are for the most part unchanged, but various minor changes have been made inland, a few place-names added and these generally given Icelandic forms, though Danish forms and inflections find their way in too. The German and Latin texts are omitted, and various corrections made.
The travel book was translated into German (1774-1775) and French (1802); and both editions contained a copy of the map. A condensed version appeared in English (1805); with a much reduced version of the map.
For the next 50 to 70 years most quality maps of Iceland were based more or less on the map by Jón Eiríksson and Gerhard Schøning. Sometimes it is difficult to see whether the model is the map in the travel book or the older versions of the map by Knoff, the maps by Horrebow and Homann.
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