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1768 Vaugondy Map of California and Alaska

Carte de la Caliofrnie et des pays Nord-ouest separes de l’Asie par Le Detroit d’Anian, extradite de dus Cartes publiees au commencement du 17e Siecle. - Main View

1768 Vaugondy Map of California and Alaska




Carte de la Caliofrnie et des pays Nord-ouest separes de l’Asie par Le Detroit d’Anian, extradite de dus Cartes publiees au commencement du 17e Siecle.
  1768     11.5 x 15 in (29.21 x 38.1 cm)


This is the important Denis Diderot / Didier Robert De Vaugondy map of California. Two maps, the larger depicts the Northwestern part of North America from Anian (Alaska) to Cabo San Lucas. The smaller central map is a larger perspective of the entire region. Both maps are based on the early work of Visscher between 1612 and 1641. The smaller map shows the region free of ice – suggesting the possibility of a Northwest Passage. Lists prominently the supposed American Indian kingdoms of Anian Regnum, Quivira Regnum, the Sierra Nevada, Nova Albion, Tontonteac Regnum, Tolm Regnum. Also includes many costal place names, some of which are recognizable, and some of which are recognizable (C. de San Francisco, Mendocino, Cape Fortuna, etc. ) and other which are entirely mythical. This work is part of the 10 map supplement to Diderot's encylopidia, much of which is dedicated to the Northwestern part of the American continent.


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-François 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...


Very Good. Minor transference. Contemporary color. Wide clean margins. Original platemark. Blank on verso.


Wheat 159; Wagner 632; Pedley 473.