After the Dutch goldsmith and copperplate engraver Theodor de Bry (1528-98) had to leave his home town of Lüttich in 1570, due to his protestant faith, he set up a book and art dealership in Frankfurt am Main, which he lead successfully with his two sons Johann Israel and Johann Theodor de Bry.
A stay in England from 1586 to 1588 inspired him to produce his main work, "Collectiones peregrinationum in Indiam orientalem et Indiam occidentalem", the most important travel collection of 16th and early 17th century Germany. The work (which is divided into so-called large and small travels based on their different formats) contains travel reports from the New World and other places, furnished with numerous maps and copperplate engravings. It was finished by Theodor de Bry's sons after his death and was published in various languages.
From approximately 1616 the artist Matthäus Merian, who was friendly with the De Bry family, contributed his artwork and editorial efforts to the German edition of the work.