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1700 De Fer Map of the Straits of Magellan, Chile, South America

Le Detroit de Magellan. - Main View

1700 De Fer Map of the Straits of Magellan, Chile, South America



Le Detroit de Magellan.
  1700 (dated)     9.5 x 13.5 in (24.13 x 34.29 cm)


This is a scarce 1700 map of the Straits of Magellan, South America by Nicholas De Fer. It covers the important strait located at the southern tip of the South American mainland, just north of Tierra del Fuego. The map renders the region in detail, noting the coastline, capes, coastal features, soundings and other important navigational features and topography, with mountains beautifully rendered in profile.

The Strait of Magellan was discovered by the Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan, the first explores circumnavigate the globe, in 1520. This natural channel linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans though a challenging route to navigate (given the unpredictable winds and currents), is the fastest connection between the two oceans.

This map was engraved by Charles Inselin and created by Nicholas De Fer for his 1701 Atlas.


Nicholas de Fer (1646 - October 25, 1720) was a French cartographer and publisher, the son of cartographer Antoine de Fer. He apprenticed with the Paris engraver Louis Spirinx, producing his first map, of the Canal du Midi, at 23. When his father died in June of 1673 he took over the family engraving business and established himself on Quai de L'Horloge, Paris, as an engraver, cartographer, and map publisher. 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 cartographic information. This was a partner position to another simultaneously held by the more scientific geographer Guillaume De L'Isle, Premier Geograph de Roi. Despite very different cartographic approaches, De L'Isle and De Fer seem to have stepped carefully around one another and were rarely publicly at odds. Upon his death of old age in 1720, Nicolas was succeeded by two of his sons-in-law, who also happened to be brothers, Guillaume Danet (who had married his daughter Marguerite-Geneviève De Fer), and Jacques-François Bénard (Besnard) Danet (husband of Marie-Anne De Fer), and their heirs, who continued to publish under the De Fer imprint until about 1760. It is of note that part of the De Fer legacy also passed to the engraver Remi Rircher, who married De Fer's third daughter, but Richer had little interest in the business and sold his share to the Danet brothers in 1721. More by this mapmaker...


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.    


Very good. Minor wear and toning along original centerfold. Minor dampstains near edges and margins. Light offsetting.