This is a pair of 1749 Gilles Robert de Vaugondy maps of North Africa. Both maps depict the African parts of the Ottoman Empire. The map at the top of the page stretches from Morocco (Royaume de Fez) to Libya (Royaume de Tripoli) and from the Mediterranean to the Sahara about half way into Algeria. The second map, below the first one, depicts from Libya to the Red Sea and Jerusalem and from the Mediterranean to the Egyptian border.
The top map focuses on modern-day Algeria and Tunisia. The Algerian cities of Algiers (Alger) and Constantine (Constantina) are labeled and the Royaume d'Alger hugs the Mediterranean coast, bordered on the inland side by the Atlas Mountains. Tunisia, the Royaume de Tunis also hugs the coast and both Tunis and Biserte are labeled. The map only covers part of the Royaume de Tripoli, Libya. Tripoli is depicted on this map. The vast blank space of the Sahara (Saara) occupies well over half of the map, allowing the viewer a glimpse into the scope of the desert.
The lower map focuses on the rest of Libya and all of Egypt. It also presents a rough sketch of the western portion of the Arabian Peninsula, to situate the map in a broader regional context. Cities are labeled along the Libyan coast, including Benghazi (Bengasi). The detail presented in Libya pales in comparison to that depicted in Egypt. Cities, including Giza and Cairo (Le Caire) dot the course of the Nile from the southern Egyptian border to its mouth in the Mediterranean. Alexandria is situated at the mouth of the Nile. Various mountain ranges are depicted in profile. Suez is labeled and the Red Sea is shown much larger than it is. In the rather blank space of Arabia, two locations are labeled: Jerusalem and Mt. Sinai.
This map was published by Gilles Robert de Vaugondy in his Atlas Universel, Portatif et Militaire in the 1749 edition.
Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver.
Robert de Vaugondy, G. Atlas Portatif, Universel, et Militaire (Paris: Vaugondy, Durand, Pissot) 1749.
Very good. Blank on verso. Original press mark visible.
Pedley, M. S., Bel et Utile, p. 205, 432. OCLC 159769954.