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Isaac Massa Abrahamsz

Isaac Massa Abrahamsz (1586—1643)

The Haarlem merchant Isaac Massa was famous for his knowledge of Russian geography and the history of cartography. His expertise led the government to entrust him with occasional diplomatic missions.

Isaac Massa is a shadowy Dutch figure, his name is very important in the history of the Time of Troubles. This is because the Dutch merchant and diplomatic agent lived in Moscow during that turbulent period, knew the language, and had close contact with many high-ranking officials of Moscow's bureaucracy, including Tsar Boris Godunov and his son Feodor. From his Muscovite contacts Massa received valuable information on all major developments in Moscow and Muscovy, including its new Siberian colony. He carefully recorded that information and, upon returning to Holland, published it in his History. Massa's experience in and knowledge of Muscovy transformed him into a Dutch "Kremlinologist." To counter the growing English influence, the Dutch Estates-General dispatched Massa to Moscow in 1615 to represent Dutch commercial interests. During that assignment he met and was well received by the newly elected Tsar Michael Romanov. In short, while Massa's observations contain some biases (especially anti-English) and lacunae, they are a very important contemporary source for the understanding of the Time of Troubles.

He lived in Moscow from 1600 to 1609 and from 1612 to 1634. He wrote a book «A Short History of the Beginnings and Origins of These Present Wars in Moscow under the Reigns of Various Sovereigns down to the Year 1610». This book consisted many interesting facts about the Time of Troubles.

Netherlands Antilles, 2007, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Lean

St. Vincent, 2001, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Lean


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