The phantom island of Taprobana

By COLOM, Jacob Aertsz, 1668 

Insula Zeilan olim Taprobana nunc incolis tenarisim

  • Author: COLOM, Jacob Aertsz
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Printed By himselfe dwellinge on the Corne-market in the Fyrie-Colom, with Priviledge
  • Publication date: 1668
  • Physical description: Engraved map in fine original outline hand-colour
  • Inventory reference: 3923


A chart of the phantom island of Taprobana, first identified by the Ancient Greek geographer Megasthenes. The name was used for a large island in the Indian Ocean by Claudius Ptolemy in his Geographia’, and it has been identified at various points as Sri Lanka or Sumatra. It appeared in travel accounts throughout the early modern period, usually with tales of its fabled wealth and the peculiarities of its inhabitants.


  1. Not recorded in Koeman but c.f. Koeman J. Col 6A for a list of the charts.