1701 De Fer Map of Western Africa (Guinea, Benin, Morocco, Tripoli, Canary Islands)
Description: This is a scarce 1701 map of western Africa by Nicholas De Fer. It covers the northwestern part of Africa from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea and the Bight of Benin, and from the Cape Verde Islands eastward as far as Tunis. The Cape Verde Islands and the Canary Islands are also included. The whole offers extensive detail on the tribes and kingdoms of central and West Africa, including the Kingdoms of Fez, Tunis, Benin, and others. The map renders the entire region in extraordinary detail offering both topographical and political information with mountains beautifully rendered in profile.
The inland course of the Niger River, a matter that was being actively debated in Europe at the time, is mostly speculative beyond a certain point. De Fer's curiously maps the Niger River which includes a great lake, called Lac de Guarde or Lac de Sigismes formed by the Niger – an embryonic attempt to map the important and unusual Niger Inland Delta. The river, moreover, runs directly eastward rather than correctly to the northeast.
. The lower left quadrant includes a table noting the geographical position of important cities. This map was created by Nicholas De Fer for his 1701 Atlas.
Date: 1701 (undated)
Source: Fer, Nicholas de, Cartes et Descriptions Generales et Particulieres pour l'intelligence des affaires du temps, au sujet de la Succession de la Couronne d'Espagne, en Europe, en Asie, Afrique, et Amerique, (Paris) 1701.
Cartographer: Nicholas de Fer (1646 - 1720) was the son of cartographer Antoine de Fer. Nicholas was established as an engraver, cartographer, and map publisher in Paris. De Fer was a prolific cartographer with over 600 maps and atlases to his credit. De Fer's work, though replete with geographical errors, earned a large following because of its considerable decorative appeal. In the late 17th century, De Fer's fame culminated in his appointment as Geographe de le Dauphin, a position that offered him unprecedented access to the most up to date new cartographic information. This was a partner position to another simultaneously held by the more scientific geographer Guillaume Delisle, Premier Geograph de Roi. Despite very different cartographic approaches, Delisle and De Fer seem to have stepped carefully around one another and were rarely publicly at odds. Upon his death in 1720, Nicolas was succeeded by two of his sons-in-law, Guillaume Danet and Jacques-Francois Danet, and their heirs, who continued to publisher under the De Fer imprint until about 1760. Click here for a list of rare maps from Nicholas de Fer.
Size: Printed area measures 13.5 x 9.5 inches (34.29 x 24.13 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 16000000
Condition: Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Minor spotting at places. Original platemark visible.
Code: OccidentaleDAfrique-defer-1701 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
Tags: De Fer , Speculative Cartography