Lucas Jacobson Debes

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Lucas Jacobson Debes (* 1623 in Stubbekøbing , Storstrøms Amt , Denmark ; † September 28, 1675 in Tórshavn / Faroe Islands ) was a Danish pastor and topographer. His work in the Faroe Islands made him a freedom hero there during the fork period .


FÆROARUM - Prima & accurata delineatio. Lucas Debes drew the oldest Faroe Islands map from 1673.
Færoæ & Færoa reserata. Det er Færøernis oc Færøeske Indbyggeris Beskrifvelse . Copenhagen: 1673, London: 1676, Leipzig: 1757, Tórshavn: 1963, new German edition 2005 - Lucas Debes' pioneering work about the Faroe Islands on a Faroese postage stamp from 1981

Lucas was the son of Jacob Nielsen, who was a chaplain in Stubbekøbing, and later a pastor on Bogø , where he died in 1633.

Lucas Jacobsen Debes became chaplain in Tórshavn in 1651 and from 1652 was pastor of Südstreymoy and rector of the Latin school in Tórshavn .

During the Danish-Swedish War in 1658 ( see Peace of Roskilde ) he traveled to Denmark, probably on the occasion of a dispute with the Fúti (Landvoigt of the Faroe Islands) Johannes Heidemann . His ship was seized by the Swedes and Debes was imprisoned in Gothenburg for a year . Due to his teaching and his sermons, he won the favor of the local commandant and was allowed to travel on to Copenhagen . When he returned to the Faroe Islands, he became the country's vice provost .

After King Frederik III. The Faroe Islands gave his favorite Christoffer von Gabel a fief in 1655 and he also got the trade monopoly over the Faroe Islands in 1662 , there was an open dispute between Gabel's representatives in the Faroe Islands and Lucas Debes. Not only did Gabel's people want to get into the affairs of the country's Church, they exploited the locals in a way that consistent sources have described as intolerable. At the same time, Debes came into conflict with Gabel's military representative, the commandant of Skansin Fortress , who "desecrated Debes' house in a shameful way" as it was later said.

Despite these disputes, he managed to maintain his position. He even became provost of the Faroe Islands in 1670 . In the same year, the Royal Commissioner visited the Faroe Islands on the occasion of Christian V's accession to the throne . Together with a delegation of Faroers , Debes approached him with a complaint about the humiliation. The Commissioner then invited this delegation to Copenhagen to raise the matter with the government.

In 1673 he gave with Færoæ et Færoa Reserata . Det er Færøernis oc Færøeske Indbyggeris Beskrifvelse in Copenhagen published the oldest known book about the Faroe Islands. It was reissued in the Danish version in 1903, 1950 and 1963. The English translation appeared in London as early as 1676 and the German translation in Leipzig in 1757 . The German edition only appeared in small numbers and remained accessible to a small group of scholars. Therefore, in 2005, the 330th year of his death, a new edition of the German-Faroese Circle of Friends will be published . Færoæ & Færoa reserata became the book in the world which for the first time gave a comprehensive picture of the Faroe Islands and their people.

When the government commission set out for the Faroe Islands in 1673 to review the allegations against von Gabel's regime, a major fire raged on Tinganes , the center of Tórshavn, where the trading houses of the monopoly trade were located. It is very likely that von Gabels people started this fire in order to destroy evidence in good time. Most of the historical documents of the Faroe Islands from the centuries before were destroyed in this fire. An irony of history given the scope of Debes' pioneering work Færoæ & Færoa reserata .

Debes died in Tórshavn in 1675. His descendants still live in the Faroe Islands, where Debes is a common family name.


  • Lucas Jacobsøn Debes: Færoæ & Færoa reserata: Det er Færøernis oc færøeske Indbyggeris beskrifvelse, udi hvilcken føris til liuset adskillige naturens hemeligheder, oc nogle antiqviteter, oc nogle antiqviteter, suelaf her til dags udi mørketil in hilt is Meetings and meetings with Lucas Jacobson Debes . Copenhagen: 1673
    • Lucas Debes: Færoæ & Færoa reserata , Einars Prent og Forlag, Tórshavn 1963 (reprint)
  • Lucas Jacobsøn Debes: Færoæ, & Færoa reserata: That is a description of the islands & inhabitants of Foeroe: being seventeen islands subject to the King of Denmark , printed by FL for William Iles, London 1676 (English translation, 408 pages)
  • Lucas Jacobson Debes: Natural and Political History of the Faroe Islands, describing the air, land, water, animals, birds, fish, etc., the nature, habits, way of life of the inhabitants of these islands and their constitution. FC Pelt, Copenhagen and Leipzig 1757 (German translation)
    • Lucas Jacobson Debes: Natural and Political History of the Faroe Islands . Translated from Danish by CG Mengel, Copenhagen / Leipzig 1757. New edition, commented and with an afterword by Norbert B. Vogt. Mülheim ad Ruhr: 2005 ( Series of the German-Faroese Circle of Friends, Volume 9)


Web links

Commons : Lucas Debes  - album with pictures, videos and audio files