New Zealand in 24 historical maps
New Zealand is named after the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, which means “sea land”, referring to the large number of islands it contains. Abel Tasman, the first European explorer reaching the country in 1642, referred to New Zealand as Staten Landt. But later Dutch cartographers used Zeelandia Nova (Latin), followed by Nieuw-Zeeland in Dutch. Aotearoa has become the most common name for the country in the indigenous Maori language, meaning “land of the long white cloud”. After Tasman's discovery of NZ, parts of its Western coastline appeared for the first time on the famous world (wall) map of the Blaeu family in 1648. It was assumed that the North- and South Island were connected. It took more than 100 years until the whole coastline was mapped, after Captain Cook had circumnavigated the country. The city Wellington, the first European settlement, was established in 1840. In 1865 it became the official capital of New Zealand.