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1727 D'Anville Map of East Africa and South Africa


Carte de L'Ethiopie Orientale situee sur La Mer Des Indes Entre le Cap Guardasouin, le Cap de Bonne Esperance.
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Title:    Carte de L'Ethiopie Orientale situee sur La Mer Des Indes Entre le Cap Guardasouin, le Cap de Bonne Esperance.

Description:    A scarce 1727 map of eastern and southern Africa by J. B. B. D'Anville. The map covers the Africa coastline from Bab al-Mandab and the Horn of Africa couth to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, and extends inland roughly to the, at this time in history, largely unexplored center of continental Africa. The map also includes Madagascar, the Comoro Islands, Isle de Bourbon, and Isle de France (I. Maurice). D'Anville intended this work to illustrate the discoveries of Jeronimo Lobo, a 17th century Portuguese missionary who traveled extensively in East Africa attempting to convert Ethiopian Coptic Christians to Catholicism.

Although Lobo's travels were in fact confined to the northeastern quadrants of this map, the whole offers remarkably rich detail for the period. The cartographer is here attempting to reconcile Lobo's discoveries in Ethiopia with Portuguese explorations in Monomotapa, Portuguese mapping of the Congo, and Dutch activity in South Africa. The cartographer has added a wealth of detail in the form of extensive textual annotation describing known cartography, second and third hand reports from indigenous travelers, and geographic speculation , especially in the little known parts of Africa that are now Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique. Lake Malawi, here identified as Lake Maravi, is strikingly engraved with an unidentified northern terminus. Further south the Zambezi River is also richly engraved and follows, somewhat, its correct crescent course from the highlands of Zimbabwe to the coast.

Madagascar is fairly well mapped, a particularly along the western coast. Ille St. Marie, on the northeastern coast of Madagascar, is identified. At the time this island may have been the site of the semi-mythical pirate republic of Libertalia. What we know for a fact is that it was the home of such legendary pirates as William Kidd, Robert Culliford, Olivier Levasseur, Henry Every, Abraham Samuel and Thomas Tew.

Issued to accompany the 1728 French edition of Jeronimo Lobo's Voyage historique d'Abissinie.


Date:    1727 (dated)

Source:    Lobo, J., Voyage historique d'Abissinie, (Paris) 1728.    

References:    Afriterra, 592. Harvard, Pusey Library, Map Coll (Pusey) MAP-LC G8400 1727 .A6.

Cartographer:    Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697-1782) was perhaps the most important and prolific cartographer of the 18th century. D'Anville's passion for cartography manifested during his school years when he amused himself by composing maps for Latin texts. There is a preserved manuscript dating to 1712, Graecia Vetus, which may be his earliest surviving map - he was only 15 when he drew it. He would retain an interest in the cartography of antiquity throughout his long career and published numerous atlases to focusing on the ancient world. At twenty-two D'Anville, sponsored by the Duke of Orleans, was appointed Geographer to the King of France. As both a cartographer and a geographer, he instituted a reform in the general practice of cartography. Unlike most period cartographers, D'Anville did not rely exclusively on earlier maps to inform his work, rather he based his maps on intense study and research. His maps were thus the most accurate and comprehensive of his period - truly the first modern maps. Thomas Basset and Philip Porter write: "It was because of D'Anville's resolve to depict only those features which could be proven to be true that his maps are often said to represent a scientific reformation in cartography." (The Journal of African History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (1991), pp. 367-413). In 1754, when D'Anville turned 57 and had reached the height of his career, he was elected to the Academie des Inscriptions. Later, at 76, following the death of Philippe Buache, D'Anville was appointed to both of the coveted positions Buache held: Premier Geographe du Roi, and Adjoint-Geographer of the Academie des Sciences. During his long career D'Anville published some 211 maps as well as 78 treatises on geography. D'Anville's vast reference library, consisting of over 9000 volumes, was acquired by the French government in 1779 and became the basis of the Depot Geographique - though D'Anville retained physical possession his death in 1782. Remarkably almost all of D'Anville's maps were produced by his own hand. His published maps, most of which were engraved by Guillaume de la Haye, are known to be near exact reproductions of D'Anville' manuscripts. The borders as well as the decorative cartouche work present on many of his maps were produced by his brother Hubert-Francois Bourguignon Gravelot. The work of D'Anville thus marked a transitional point in the history of cartography and opened the way to the maps of English cartographers Cary, Thomson and Pinkerton in the early 19th century. Click here for a list of rare maps by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville.

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Size:   Printed area measures 16.75 x 25 inches (42.545 x 63.5 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 7580000

Condition:    Very good. Original centerfold. Blank on verso.

Code:   EastAfrica-anville-1727 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    D'Anville , Jeronimo Lobo , Speculative Cartography , Lake Malawi , Libertalia , East Africa

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