1749 Vaugondy Map of the Middle East

L'Arabie. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy fils de Mr. Robert Geog. ord. du Roi. - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of the Middle East


Stunning hand colored map of the Middle East depicting Jerusalem and Mecca and Medina.


L'Arabie. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy fils de Mr. Robert Geog. ord. du Roi.
  1749 (dated)     6.5 x 7 in (16.51 x 17.78 cm)     1 : 16800000


This is a hand colored 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of the Middle East. The map depicts the region from the Mediterranean and Egypt to Persia (Iran) and from Syria and Iraq to the Indian Ocean and northern Ethiopia (Abissinie), including the Arabian Peninsula. The Holy Land is labeled, and locates both Nazareth and Jerusalem. The Arabian Peninsual is divided into several different regions, although there are two dominant labels 'Arabie Deserte' or 'Desert Arabia' and 'Arabie Heureuse' or 'Happy Arabia.' 'Happy Arabia' is divided between the States of the Sharif of Mecca (Etats du Cherif de la Meque) and Yemen. The Etats du Cherif de la Meque includes both Mecca (la Meque) and Medina (Medine), both of which are labeled. The cities of Aden, in Yemen, Cairo (le Caire), Damascus, Babylon, Tikrit, Basra, and Ispahan are labeled, along with several smaller towns. Bahrain (Bahrein) is depicted along the Persian Gulf, and the highly strategic Strait of Hormuz is labeled. Across the Red Sea, the African coast is depicted, including Egypt, the Kingdom of Sennar or Nubia, which was in modern-day Sudan, and Abyssinia, which is depicted as being in Ethiopia and Somalia. Mountain ranges are illustrated in profile and several rivers snake across the map.

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. After Didier died, his maps were acquired by Jean-Baptiste Fortin who in 1787 sold them to Charles-Fran├žois Delamarche (1740 - 1817). While Delamarche prospered from the Vaugondy maps, he also defrauded Vaugondy's window Marie Louise Rosalie Dangy of her inheritance and may even have killed her. Learn More...


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. 197, 387.