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1750 Bellin Map of the West Coast of South America and Central America


1750 Bellin Map of the West Coast of South America and Central America


Unusual map of the west coast of South America and the Galapagos Islands.



Nouvelle Carte de la Mer Pacifique, ou Mer du Sud.
  1750 (undated)     13.5 x 21 in (34.29 x 53.34 cm)     1 : 10300000


An uncommon and unusual c. 1750 Jacques Nicholas Bellin map of the western coast of South America and Central America. Oriented to the east, this map illustrates the coast line from Acapulco, Mexico to Valparaiso, Chile. The map is continued via inset at bottom center from Valparaiso to Tierra del Fuego. A text annotation along the Chilean coastline identifies the site where Captain David Cheap, one of Anson's sub-commander's, lost his freighter, the Wager, in 1741. Another inset details the Bay of St. Francois, near Cape Horn, Chile, as discovered by Captain Joachim Durquistade in 1715. At center, near the compass rose, the Galapagos Islands are prominently presented. Drawn by Bellin for issue in Prevost's Histoire Generale des Voyages.


Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early-19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne.


Provost, A., L'Histoire Generale des Voyages, (Paris) c. 1750.    


Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear and verso reinforcement along original fold lines. Offsetting. Blank on verso. Lower half of right margin is narrow.


Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 693 C 6 dl XXII, to. p. 257.