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1740 Albrizzi Map of Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Carolina and Virginia


Carta Geografica Della Florida Nell' America Settentrionale.
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Title:    Carta Geografica Della Florida Nell' America Settentrionale.

Description:    This scarce map by Giambattista Albrizzi is a curious and somewhat retrogressive 1740 Italian variant on Delisle's 1718 map of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the southeastern British coastal colonies. Roughly following the topical model as laid down by Ortelius in 1584, this map is centered on the Mississippi River and covers from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic and from the latitude of Philadelphia to Panuco (Mexico) and the Bahamas.

Many of the cartographic elements here are curiously antiquated having been updated by Delisle in his 1718 map - suggesting that Albrizzi must have either had an earlier variant of Delisle's map in hand when this map was composed or, more likely, chose to 'update' the Delisle map with other outdated sources. One such example is the curious half-moon shaped lake at the northern terminus of the Apalachicola River. This lake appeared in some early French maps but by 1740 had largely been abandoned as unlikely by most cartographers. This is also one of the last published maps to incorporate John Lederer's c. 1670 nomenclature in Carolina - including the 'Deserto Akenatzy', the 'Pinnura cooperta d'acqua' and the 'Lago Grand' (a vestigial variant on the apocryphal 'Great Lake of the American Southeast')

Throughout the map cities and fortifications are rendered pictorially in the early 18th century European fashion. In particular, St. Augustine is presented as a mighty fortification. Other cities so rendered include Philadelphia, Charleston, Panuco, and (curiously) several Mohawk villages in Virginia. Smaller towns and American Indian villages are presented as churches.

The political divisions presented here are also of exceptional interest. The cartographer limits the British colonies to a narrow band of land to the east of the Appalachian Mountains. Georgia is identified within the limits of South Carolina and North Carolina is 'Virginia Vecchi' (Old Virginia). Virginia itself hosts two large Mohawk villages within its Various European towns in Virginia, including Jamestown, are clearly intended to be overshadowed by their Amerindian neighbors. To the west of the Appalachian Mountains and bounded by the Apalachicola River, is the territory of Apalache. West of the Apalachicola River as far as the Mississippi, Albrazzi identifies Concachi or Apalachicoli. Beyond the Mississippi, a vast region abstractly following the boundaries of the original Texas charter is identified as Cadodaquio, referencing an American Indian tribe known among the French as the Quadodaquious and among the Spanish as Kadohadachos. The name 'Texas' or even 'Tejas' does not appears - a curious omission given that the 1718 Delisle map upon which this is loosely based is in fact the first published map to name Texas.

Albrizzi's incorporation of a large decorative cartouche at bottom center is of special note. The graphic, which includes lions and deer (despite the fact that lions are not indigenous to the Americas), as well as stylized American Indian hunters, was most likely drawn by the well-known Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piazetta (c. 1682 - 1754). The incorporation of Piazetta's graphic elements, which innovate by being more descriptive that allegorical, was an important advancement for 18th century Italian school cartography and set the stage for the later cartographic publications of Antonio Zatta, among others.

This map was drawn and prepared for issued in G. Albrizzi's 1740 Atlante Novissimo che Contiene Tutte le Parti del Mondo. The work is essentially a decorative Italian reissue of Isaak Tirion's 1730 reissue of G. Delisle's c. 1700 atlas.


Date:    1740 (undated)

Source:    Albrizzi, G. B., Atlante Novissimo che Contiene Tutte le Parti del Mondo, (Venice: Albrizzi) 1740.    

Cartographer:    Giambattista Albrizzi (1698 - 1777), a.k.a. Giovanni Battista Albrizzi, was an Italian publisher and journalist active in Venice during the mid-18th century. Albrizzi was the scion of a well-established Venetian publishing dynasty and followed in the footsteps of his father, Girolamo Albrizzi, who founded the family printing business and is known for publishing the work the great Venetian cartography Vincenzo Coronelli. Giambattista Albrizzi is generally considered to be the most prominent 18th century Venetian publisher. Today he is best known for his friendship and collaboration with Giovanni Battista Piazzeta (1683 - 1754), a well know Venetian artist and engraver, whose drawings and engravings appear in many of Albrizzi's publications, including his maps. Giambattista Albrizzi's cartographic work, while not particularly innovative in terms of content, often featured elaborate decorative elements designed by Piazzeta. Through the integration of such decorative elements, Albrizzi hopped to revive the reputation of Venetian publishing, which since the late 17th century, had fallen in regard since the days of Girolamo. His work helped lay the foundations for Italian school decorative cartography in the late 18th and early 19th century, including the work of Antonio Zatta, among others. In addition to Albrizzi's work as a map and book publisher, he also issued a weekly journal, Novelle della Repubblica delle Lettere, a kind of early newspaper that played an important role in Venetian business and intellectual life. Click here for a list of rare maps by Giovanni Battista Albrizzi.

Cartographer:    The De L'Isle family (fl. c. 1700 - c. 1760) (also written Delisle) were, in composite, a mapmaking tour de force who redefined early 18th century European cartography. Claude De L'Isle (1644 -1720), the family patriarch, was Paris based a historian and geographer under Nicholas Sanson. De L'Isle and his sons were proponents of the school of "positive geography" and were definitive figures, defining the heights of the Golden Age of French Cartography. Of his twelve sons, four, Guillaume (1675- 1726), Simon Claude (1675 - 1726), Joseph Nicholas (1688 - 1768) and Louis (1720 - 1745), made a significant contributions to cartography. Without a doubt Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. It is said that Guillaume's skill as a cartographer was so prodigious that he drew his first map at just nine years of age. He was tutored by J. D. Cassini in astronomy, science, mathematics and cartography. By applying these diverse disciplines to the vast stores of information provided by 18th century navigators, Guillaume created the technique that came to be known as "scientific cartography", essentially an extension of Sanson's "positive geography". This revolutionary approach transformed the field of cartography and created a more accurate picture of the world. Among Guillaume's many firsts are the first naming of Texas, the first correct map of the Mississippi, the final rejection of the insular California fallacy, and the first identification of the correct longitudes of America. Stylistically De L'Isle also initiated important changes to the medium, eschewing the flamboyant Dutch style of the previous century in favor of a highly detailed yet still decorative approach that yielded map both beautiful and informative. Guillaume was elected to the French Academie Royale des Sciences at 27. Later, in 1718, he was also appointed "Premier Geographe du Roi", an office created especially for him. De L'Isle personally financed the publication of most of his maps, hoping to make heavy royalties on their sales. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1728, leaving considerable debt and an impoverished child and widow. De L'Isle's publishing firm was taken over by his assistant, Phillipe Buache who became, posthumously, his son in law. The other De L'Isle brothers, Joseph Nicholas and Louis De L'Isle, were employed in the Service of Peter the Great of Russia as astronomers and surveyors. They are responsible for cataloguing and compiling the data obtained from Russian expeditions in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America, including the seminal explorations of Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov. The De L'Isles, like their rivals the Vaugondys , 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. 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 maps by the De L'Isle (Delisle) family.

Size:   Printed area measures 17.5 x 13.5 inches (44.45 x 34.29 centimeters)

Scale:    1: 6145920

Condition:    Very good. Original Platemark visible. Wide clean margins. Blank on verso.

Code:   MississippiFlorida-albrizzi-1740 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    French and Indian War , Albrizzi , Delisle , Speculative Cartography

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