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1701 De Fer Map of Western Africa (Guinea, Benin, Morocco, Tripoli, Canary Islands)


1701 De Fer Map of Western Africa (Guinea, Benin, Morocco, Tripoli, Canary Islands)




Partie Occidentale D'Afrique ou se trouve les Isles Canaries, et du Cap Ver dans la Mer Atlantique les Etats du Roy de Maroc, des Royaumes d'Alger et de Tunis, de Biledulgerid, et le Saara, en Barbarie, La Nigritie, et la Guinee.
  1701 (undated)     9.5 x 13.5 in (24.13 x 34.29 cm)     1 : 16000000


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.


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 1621.


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 along original centerfold. Minor spotting at places. Original platemark visible.