1762 Janvier Map of South America

L'Amerique Meridionale divisée en ses principaux Etats. - Main View

1762 Janvier Map of South America


Depicts the fictional Laguna de Xarayes - the entrance to El Dorado!


L'Amerique Meridionale divisée en ses principaux Etats.
  1762 (dated)     12 x 17.5 in (30.48 x 44.45 cm)     1 : 31000000


This is a 1762 Jean Janvier map of South America. The map depicts from the island of Hispaniola and the Yucatan to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn and from Mexico to Africa. Highly detailed, national boundaries are illustrated and myriad cities, regions, tribes, mountains, and rivers are labeled. 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. An erroneous link between the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers is illustrated on this example as well. A large decorative title cartouche appears in the lower left corner.

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 Spain's continental hegemony. All three empires were aggressively exploiting the continent, with the mountainous western regions being rapaciously mined to supply Chinese and European needs for silver to stabilize their economies, and the coastal lowlands were 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.

This map was drawn by Jean Janvier and for inclusion 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 Par Plusieurs Auteurs, Paris, 1762.    


Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold. Minor wormholing. Blank on verso.


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