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1762 Janvier Map of South America

l'Amerique Meridionale divisee en ses principaux Etats. - Main View

1762 Janvier Map of South America


Speculative map of the mythical Lake Xarayes.



l'Amerique Meridionale divisee en ses principaux Etats.
  1762 (dated)     12.5 x 18 in (31.75 x 45.72 cm)     1 : 31000000


This is a beautiful example of Jan Janvier's 1762 decorative map of South America. It covers from the island of Hispaniola and the Yucatan south to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, east to Africa, and west to Mexico. The whole of the South American continent is detailed, showing mountains, rivers, national boundaries, cities, regions, and tribes. The mythical Laguna de Xarayes (Xarayes Lac), the supposed gateway to paradise or El Dorado is identified as the northern terminus of the Paraguay River. It also erroneously links the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers.

As this map was drawn most of South America was dominated by the vast and increasingly mismanaged Spanish empire. Only Portuguese Brazil and Spanish and Dutch enclaves in Guyana disrupted the Spain's continental hegemony. All three empires were aggressively exploiting the continent, with the mountainous western regions being rapaciously mined to supply China and Europe's desperate need for silver to stabilize their economies, and the coastal lowlands dominated by sprawling sugar plantations intended to satisfy Europe's increasingly insatiable sweet tooth. Meanwhile, much of the interior, in particular the Amazon and Orinoco basins remained largely unexplored.

A large decorative title cartouche appears in the lower left quadrant. This map was drawn by J. Janvier and included as plate no. 33 in Jean Lattre's Atlas Moderne.


Jean or Robert Janvier (fl. 1746 - 1776) was a Paris based cartographer active in the mid to late 18th century. Janvier true first name is a matter of debate, as it appears as it often appears as either Jean or Robert. More commonly, Janvier simply signed his maps Signor Janvier. By the late 18th century Janvier seems to have been awarded the title of "Geographe Avec Privilege du Roi" and this designations appears on many of his latter maps. Janvier worked with many of the most prominent French, English and Italian map publishers of his day, including Faden, Lattre, Bonne, Santini, Zannoni, Delamarche, and Desnos. Learn More...

Jean Lattré (170x - 178x) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, globe maker, calligrapher, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattré published a large corpus of maps, globes, and atlases in conjunction with a number of other important French cartographic figures, including Janvier, Zannoni, Bonne and Delamarche. He is also known to have worked with other European cartographers such as William Faden of London and the Italian cartographer Santini. Map piracy and copyright violations were common in 18th century France. Paris court records indicate that Lattré brought charges against several other period map publishers, including fellow Frenchman Desnos and the Italian map engraver Zannoni, both of whom he accused of copying his work. Lattré likes trained his wife Madame Lattré (né Vérard), as an engraver, as a late 18th century trade card promotes the world of 'Lattré et son Epouse.' Lattré's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France. Later in life he relocated to Bordeaux. Learn More...


Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c.1778.    


Very good. Some toning and wear along original centerfold. Minor foxing. Original platemark visible.


Rumsey 2612.075. Phillips (Atlases) 664. National Maritime Museum, 215.