Topographia Ducatus Montani

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Ducatus Montium / -ani Delineatio (Demolition of the Duchy of Berg)
Schleifkotten on the tributaries of the Wupper; Detail from the map of the Solingen office (dimensions of the entire map sheet 43.6 × 36 cm) of the Topographia Ducatus Montani , sheet 8.

The Topographia Ducatus Montani is a set of maps by Erich Philipp Ploennies from the year 1715. His work, as the oldest topographical representation of the entire Bergisches Land with the Duchy of Berg, in the interplay of text ( country description ) and map, provides a fairly coherent and varied picture of the landscape of the beginning 18th century, which deserves attention as a historical investigation.

The work depicts the Duchy of Berg according to its offices , lordships and cities . It includes a description with views of individual places as well as a series of cartographic sheets. The place signatures identify the cities, villages, freedoms, monasteries, castles, cattle yards, mills, grinding cottages etc. of the respective territories. The work is addressed to the Elector Johann Wilhelm and was no longer printed.

For the first time, almost all bridges, forests, monasteries, freedoms, noble houses and the most important borders were shown in cartography.

The original is kept in the North Rhine-Westphalia State Archive, Rhineland Department .

Economy - Economic development status in 1715 in the Duchy of Berg

In his work, Plönnies gives a representation of the economic conditions around 1715, which at the time certainly aroused astonishment and fascination, because hundreds of water-powered grinding pots, hammers and mills, windmills in the Rhine Valley and the flat Lower Rhine region, metal-processing hammer mills and " Slipkotten" in the Area Solingen and Remscheid , from paper mills on the Strunde and powder mills in the Oberbergische part of the country, copper works near Langenberg and copper mines near Wipperfürth , coal mines in the Broich rule , mines and mines in the offices of Steinbach, Windeck and Porz, as well as oil and grain mills can be seen next to the villages and towns.

... there is almost nothing to name that might be missing in the end, then what is missing from one ambt, the other has. Nevertheless, from the mass of offices, three should be emphasized due to special economic characteristics, namely the Elberfeld office, in which one started looking for coal a few years ago ... and the Steinbach office, where you can find "Eysenhütten, iron mines ... and copper mines " and finally the Windeck office, where" Eisenberg, Kupferberg and Silberberg "are exploited.

In addition, fruit farming, cattle breeding and fishing are "flourishing" in the fertile landscape.

“The inhabitants there are mostly hardworking people, and many of them are inclined to act, so their piece of bread nourishes to win, they try to correspond with foreign countries in various ways, in order to win something when an opportunity might arise. Otherwise they are perky, sharp and thoughtful in their minds, and can often imitate other things they have not learned. The best way to find out whether she is peace-loving is on the Canzley. "

- Ploennies over the Bergisches Land

Content and description of the Topographia Ducatus Montani

Handwritten entries from ploennies

The difference to pure topography , apart from the accuracy of the representation, is essentially that Plönnies not only used the map, but also the text and the illustration. It is a purely descriptive inventory, without wanting to explain or justify any claim, neither in his time nor today can Plönnies be called a geographer . The work is divided into three parts: text, maps and illustrations. In addition to the dedication to the Elector and preliminary remarks for the readers, the actual description of the country follows, whereby the overview clearly shows what was meant by topography :

  1. Explanation of the country name
  2. Situation: geographical, territorial
  3. extent
  4. Population: general character, religion
  5. Waters with indications of navigability
  6. Economic situation: crops, livestock, wood, game, mines, (hard coal, iron, copper, silver), huts and hammers.
  7. Breakdown of the country: offices (13), glories (6), cities (10), freedoms (8).

After the country has been presented in its entirety, the individual cities, freedoms, castles, monasteries and finally offices are discussed. The map section opens with an overview map of the entire duchy. The following are the maps of the offices: Office Löwenburg , Office Porz , Office Miselohe , Office Monheim , Upper and lower ratings Office Angermund , Office Mettmann , Office Solingen , Office Elberfeld with Barmen , Office Beyenburg , Office Blankenberg , Office Bornefeld , Office Lülsdorf , Office Steinbach and Amt Windeck , then the maps of the Lords Schöller and Herrschaft Broich ( Broich Castle ) as well as the Herrschaft Hardenberg .

The illustration part contains views of Düsseldorf , Lennep , Wipperfürth , Ratingen , with Gerresheim , Radevormwald , Solingen , Benrath , Bensberg , Siegburg , Mülheim am Rhein , Altenberg , Burg and Hückeswagen . In a kind of appendix that is otherwise unrelated to the entire work, there are finally maps of the Jülischen offices of Caster , Bergheim , Jülich-Aldenhoven , Eschweiler - Wilhelmstein and Düren-Nörvenich , but the exclaves Wesseling and Rodenkirchen on the left bank of the Rhine are missing .

The maps of the individual Bergisch offices are not designed as frame maps , but as island maps . i.e. they cannot be joined together seamlessly. You will receive the larger bodies of water partly with names, a selection of the network of paths, larger forests, also partly with names and the settlements, which are reproduced with different signatures, the registered settlement names are colored dialectically. The explanations of symbols are not completely reproduced on the individual sheets, the following distinctions are made:

  • City with walls,
  • City,
  • Freedom,
  • old castle,
  • ruined castle,
  • Kirchdorf, village with church,
  • Chapel, chapel,
  • Village with chapel (not explained in the legend),
  • Monastery (not explained in the legend),
  • Village without a church, small village, many farms,
  • many common farms, many common farms, 4 farms,
  • 3 courtyards,
  • 2 courtyards,
  • 1 yard,
  • Freihof,
  • noble house,
  • Mill hammer,
  • Windmill (not explained in the legend).


  • Erich Philipp Ploennies: Topographia Ducatus Montani (1715) (= Bergische Forschungen 20, 1 2). Edited and edited by Burkhard Dietz. 2 volumes (part 1: country description and views , part 2: maps ). Schmidt, Neustadt / Aisch 1988, ISBN 3-87707-073-6 (part 1), ISBN 3-87707-074-4 (part 2).
  • Burkhard Dietz: Erich Philipp Ploennies (1672–1751). Life and work of a mathematical practitioner of the early enlightenment (= Bergische Forschungen 24). Schmidt, Neustadt / Aisch, 1996, ISBN 3-87707-491-X .