1712 Wells Map of Africa

Africk-wells-1712
$300.00
A New Map of Africk Shewing its Present General Divisions Chief Cities or Towns, Rivers, Mountains etc.
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1712 Wells Map of Africa

Africk-wells-1712

A speculative early 18th century perspective on Africa.

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Title


A New Map of Africk Shewing its Present General Divisions Chief Cities or Towns, Rivers, Mountains etc.
  1712 (undated)    15 x 20 in (38.1 x 50.8 cm)     1 : 22000000

Description


This is a beautiful 1712 map of Africa by Edward Wells of Oxford. It covers the continent of Africa from an early 18th century perspective. The overall composition stresses the fact that, while the coasts of Africa had been well mapped since the late 17th century, very little was known of the interior. A lack of true knowledge did nothing to prevent cartographers of the period from speculating on the interior.

Convention from the 15th century onward mapped the sources of the White Nile on the Ptolemaic model incorporating two great inland lakes, Zaire and Zaflan, at the base of a mountain range known as the 'Mountains of the Moon' (here unidentified). Wells has retained both lakes prominently, even noting islands within. These lakes continued to appear in less and less cohesive form throughout the 18th century until they merged with the factual lakes Malawi and Victoria in 19th century.

In southern Africa to large empires are named, Monoemugi and Monomotapa. This is the great southern African gold mining region and these names are likely taken from the names of prominent Congolese tribal rulers.

A large title cartouche is included in the bottom left of the map featuring the coat of arms of the Duke of Gloucester. This, like many other Wells maps, is dedicated to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and son of Queen Anne, who, when this map was being prepared, was a student at Oxford. Published by T. Bonwicke for the 1712 edition of Edward Wells' Atlas, A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography.

Cartographer


Edward Wells (1667 - 1727) was an English mathematician, geographer, and classical scholar based at Christ Church College, Oxford. Well's was trained for the ministry but quickly found himself unsuited to religious life and instead applied for an academic position at Oxford, where he authored numerous well respected works on a wide range of mathematical and scientific topics. He was chosen to tutor the young Prince William, the sickly son of Queen Anne. The two must have been quite close for Well's dedicated nearly all of the maps in his most important atlas, A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography. Sadly, he young prince died in July of 1700 shortly before the atlas was published. Nonetheless, Wells' geography proved popular and was published in number editions well into the 1730s.

Source


Wells, E., A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography, (London, T. w. Bonwicke) c. 1712.     A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography was published by Edward Wells in various editions between 1701 and 1730. The publication contained some 40 maps all of which were dedicated to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester. Wells tutored the young prince at Christchurch, Oxford and seems to have developed a close relationship with him. At just 11 years of age, William died in 1700 and never had the opportunity to see the published work that he inspired. The atlas was intended for educational purposes with a focus on school use.

Condition


Very good. Some restored damage along original centerfold. Minor spotting. Original platemark visible. Backed with archival tissue for stability.

References


New York Public Library, Map Division, OCLC : 7143148 (1700 edition). Boston Public Library, Leventhal Map Center, G8201.S2 1719.W34.