Pieter de Marees

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Pieter de Marees was a Dutch merchant and explorer best known for his account of a trip to the Gold Coast that appeared in 1602.

Pieter de Marees was probably of Flemish origin from Antwerp. His journey began on November 1, 1600 (departure). They arrived in Ghana on January 1, 1601 and stayed until January 2, 1602. On March 21, 1602, they returned to Amsterdam. His book about today's Ghana appeared under the abbreviation PDM. In it he writes in detail about the culture, religion and customs of the inhabitants, about their economy and the native flora and fauna. A German translation was available as early as 1603, and English and Latin editions followed. In 1617 and 1650 there were new editions in the Netherlands.

The book did a lot to spark interest in the Gold Coast. The first news of this was received in the Netherlands through the publication of the Itinerario by Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1596), in which the scholar Bernardus Paludanus (Berent ten Broecke) wrote about the wealth of the Gold Coast in ivory, spices, gold and cotton. There were also reports from Barent Ericksz about the country, which he received from a Frenchman with whom he was held in Portuguese captivity on São Tomé . As a result, from 1598 onwards there were numerous trips by Dutch people to West Africa.

The book also provides information on Senegal , Cape Verde , Nigeria ( Benin ) and Gabon ( Cap Lopez ). It is of great importance for the ethnology of the peoples in Ghana before colonization.

In 1704 Willem Bosman published another Dutch description of the Gold Coast.


  • Beschrijvinghe end historical verhael vant gout Koninckrijck van Guinea: anders de goutcuste de Mina called leggende in het deel van Africa , Amsterdam 1602, 1617, digitized version of the 1617 edition
  • True historical description of the mighty Goltreich Kingdom of Guinea, otherwise called the Goltgestatt of Mina, so located in Africa, sampled the same whole constitution, also religion and opinion, trade and change of the inhabitants there; In addition to a brief narration about what the ships want to go there, for a run through the Canary Islands, bit the Cabo de Trespunctas, since the GoltGestatt is beginning , Frankfurt: Richter 1603 (German translation by M. Gotthardt Arthus von Dantzig, copper engravings by the brothers Johann Theodor and Johann Israel van Bry)
  • SP L'Honoré Naber (Editor): Beschryvinghe end of historical verhael van het Gout Koninkrijck van Gunea. Anders de Gout-custe de Mina called liggende in het deel van Africa , The Hague, 1912
  • Albert van Dantzig, Adam Jones : Pieter de Marees, Description and historical account of the Gold Kingdom of Guinea (1602) , Oxford 1987


  • Regula Iselin: Reading Pictures. On the Value of the Copperplates in the "Beschryvinghe" of Pieter de Marees (1602) as Source Material for Ethnohistorical Research , in: History in Africa, Volume 21, 1994, pp. 147-170.
  • Christina Brauner: The Disappearance of the Eyewitness. Transformations of text and concept of authorship in the German translation of the Guinea travelogue by Pieter de Marees (1602) and its reception , in: Bettina Noak (Ed.): Auctoritas and knowledge transfer in the early modern Dutch-language literature 1500–1800, Göttingen 2014, p. 19-60.
  • JB Amissah: Introducing Description and Historical Account of the Golden Kingdom of Guinea by Pieter De Marees. An early 17th century publication on the Gold Coast , Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, Volume 9, 1968, pp. 121-127
  • JKJ de Jonge: De oorsprong van Nederland's bezittingen op de Kust van Guinea , The Hague 1871