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1784 Vaugondy Map of Africa


Afrique divisee en les principaux Empire et Royaumes.
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Title:    Afrique divisee en les principaux Empire et Royaumes.

Description:    An exceptional 1784 map Africa by Robert de Vaugondy and Charles Delamarche. Following on the work of Nicolas Sanson, Vaugondy's map of Africa covers eth entire continent in considerable detail. The late 18th century saw little in the way of African Exploration, so other than some minor updates to South Africa, this issue, the first Delamarche state, remains consistent with the map originally published by Robert de Vaugondy in 1749.

Like most maps of Africa from this period, the while is rife with speculation. Vaugondy, unlike many of his contemporaries, attempts to limit his geographical analysis of the continent to those areas reported on in relatively recent times. Thus thus the White Nile, rather than turn east to meet with the Niger or flow south into the Ptolemaic Mountains of the Moon, merely tapers off into the unknown. Central Africa is largely left blank, although appears to be divided into several little known kingdoms: Monoemugi, Mujac, Gingir-Bomba, and Macoco, among others. The Sultanate of Zamziba is given control of much of Western Africa from the Horn to the Zambesee River. Lake Malawi appears in recognizable but embryonic form with it supper terminus left unmapped and thus unknown. In west Africa the known kingdoms of Benin and Congo are mapped according to the early 18th century conventions. South Africa exhibits updated information associated with mid-18th century discoveries.

Two rococo cartouches appear in the upper right and lower left quadrants. A statistical table appears to the right of te map proper.This is the 5th state of Robert de Vaugondy's Africa map and was issued for the 1784 Delamarche issue of the Atlas Universel.


Date:    1784 (undated)

Source:    Delamarche, C. , Atlas Universel (Paris) 1784.    

References:    Pedley, M. S., Bel et Utile, no. 424.5. Tooley, R.V., Collectors' Guide to Maps of the African Continent and Southern Africa, p. 93-94. Afriterra 875 (1749 edition).

Cartographer:    Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver. Click here for a list of rare maps by Gilles and Didier Robert de Vaugondy.

Cartographer:    Charles Francois Delamarche (1740-1817) founded the important and prolific Paris based Maison Delamarche map publishing firm in the late 18th century. A lawyer by trade Delamarche entered the map business with the acquisition from Jean-Baptiste Fortin of Robert de Vaugondy's map plates and copyrights. Delamarche appears to have been of dubious moral character. In 1795 the widow of Didier Robert de Vaugondy Marie Louise Rosalie Dangy, petitioned a public committee for 1500 livres, which should have been awarded to her deceased husband. However, Delamarche, proclaiming himself Vaugondy's heir, filed a simultaneous petition and walked away with the funds most of which he was instructed to distribute to Vaugondy's widow and children. Just a few months later, however, Delamarche proclaimed Marie Dangy deceased and it is highly unlikely that any these funds found their way to Vaugondy's impoverished daughters. Nonetheless, where Vaugondy could not make ends meet as a geographer, Delamarche prospered as a map publisher, acquiring most of the work of earlier generation cartographers Lattre, Bonne, Desnos, and Janvier, thus expanding significantly upon the Vaugondy stock. Charles Delamarche eventually passed control of the firm to his son Felix Delamarche (18th C. - 1st half 19th C.) and geographer Charles Dien (1809-1870). It was later passed on to Alexandre Delamarche, who revised and reissued several Delamarche publications in the mid-19th century. The firm continued to publish maps and globes until the middle part of the 19th century. Click here for a list of rare maps from Maison Delamarche.

Size:   Printed area measures 26.5 x 20 inches (67.31 x 50.8 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 37000000

Condition:    Very good. Minor toning. A couple of minor wormholes near centerfold.

Code:   Afrique-delamarche-1784 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)


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