Andreas Josua Ulsheimer

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Andreas Josua Ulsheimer (* 1578 in Gerstetten near Heidenheim ), also Ultzheimer , was a German doctor and world traveler.


Andreas Josua Ulsheimer was born in 1578 in the Swabian Gerstetten in today's Heidenheim district (Baden-Württemberg) as the son of the Protestant pastor Jacob Ulsheimer. He learned the profession of a surgeon in Ulm and took part in the war against the Turks as a field surgeon in the Swabian regiments in Hungary in 1596. With these he was involved in the siege and conquest of Hatvan , but when his troops were routed and blown up in the battle of Erlau , he returned home and worked as a surgeon in Ulm over the winter.

In the spring of 1597 he was recruited again for a campaign against the Turks and took part in the fighting in the Upper Hungarian lowlands, so u. a. also at the storming of Pápa . Ulsheimer spent the winter of 1597/98 in Vienna and together with his younger brother Johann Cornelius he emigrated to Italy in the spring of 1598, where he lived in Livorno through the mediation of his cousin, who was a follower of the Grand Duke of Tuscany , Ferdinando I de 'Medici , was, got a job as " Balbierer und Veldscherer ". But here he was plagued by wanderlust, drawn out into the world. "Since I have been under the crew for several months, I no longer wanted to stay on the bernhaut, but tried to find another opportunity to tear further."

He traveled to Amsterdam on a Frisian ship , from where, in the period from 1599 to 1603, he sailed three times to the West Indies (mainly to Santo Domingo ) and once to Brazil on Dutch ships . On the first voyage he was shipwrecked near the Azores , but was able to save himself on land and was happy again in Amsterdam in the spring of 1600. 1603-1604 he traveled on a ship of the "Genoese Compania" the West African Guinean Coast, where he got a small ship, a sloop , placed on the Gold Coast , and went to Benin with the sloop loaded with merchandise . In Benin he helped the local king with his ship cannons to conquer a walled insurgent city. Well laden with pepper, he drove on to Cameroon to exchange ivory, after which he drove back to the Gold Coast to meet with Dutch ships.

From 1604 to 1609 Ulsheimer undertook a ship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to Sumatra , Java and other islands of what is now Indonesia for trade and to Goa to fight the Portuguese there. After returning in October 1609, Ulsheimer moved back to his Swabian homeland, where he first went to his brother Sebastian, who was the schoolmaster in the community of Schondorf. A little later he moved on to his younger brother Johann Cornelius, who was a forester at Grafeneck Castle at the time. Here he married Anna Hosch, the daughter of the former forester on Grafeneck. In 1610 Andreas Josua Ulsheimer settled down as a surgeon in Tübingen .

Andreas Josua Ulsheimer summarized his travel experiences in 1616 in a handwritten manuscript, which was published in 1622 under the title " True Description of Several Raises ... in Europe, Africa, East India and America ... ". The travel report is particularly noteworthy with regard to West Africa, as Ulsheimer was here in 1603 when the Dutch tried to conquer the Lusospanian fortress Elmina . Furthermore, the nine chapters of the Guinea part contain a vivid description of the coast between Cape Verde and Gabon , with everything that was to be said from the point of view of that time, whereby in addition to the Elmina story mentioned, he goes into more detail on Accra and Benin . His report also contains a list of local gold weights on the Gold Coast.


The original wording of the manuscript is reproduced in:

  • Wilhelm Crecelius (Ed.): Josua Ulsheimer's travels to Guinea and description of the country. In: Alemannia . (Bonn), 7 (1879), pp. 97-120 (concerns the Guinea part of the travel description) - digitized
  • Wilhelm Crecelius (Ed.): Josua Ulsheimer's travels to Guinea and description of the country. In: Alemannia. (Bonn), 6 (1878), pp. 90–126 (concerns the remaining part of the travel description) - digitized
  • Sabine Werg (Ed.): Truthful description of ettlicher Raysen, like the same Mr. Andreas Ultzheimer accomplished . Tübingen 1971, ISBN 3-7711-0130-1 .
  • Adam Jones (Ed.): German Sources for West African History, 1599-1669 (Studies on Cultural Studies, Volume 66), Wiesbaden 1983, pp. 18–43 and pp. 340–356 (German transcription and English translation with scientific . Comment)

Excerpts from the manuscript in today's German can be found at:

  • Hartmut Sellke: Andreas Josua Ulsheimer's travels to America and Guinea (1599–1604). In: Helmut Christian (Ed.): Swabian CVs. Volume 9: Swabian globetrotters (Kiechel, Ulsheimer, Mauch) . Heidenheim an der Benz 1971.


Individual evidence

  1. s. a. Turkish Wars .
  2. Sabine Werg (Ed.): Truthful description of ettlicher Raysen, like the same Mr. Andreas Ultzheimer has accomplished . Tübingen 1971, ISBN 3-7711-0130-1 , pp. 123-133.