1771 Bonne Map of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil

Carte du Paraguay et partie des Pays adjacants. - Main View

1771 Bonne Map of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil


A beautiful example.


Carte du Paraguay et partie des Pays adjacants.
  1771 (dated)     17 x 13 in (43.18 x 33.02 cm)     1 : 8600000


A beautiful example of Rigobert Bonne's 1771 map of Paraguay. It shows the Governorate of Paraguay just before the 1776 institution of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, but shortly after the 1767 expulsion of the Jesuits; thus illustrating the extent of Jesuit exploration and missionary work in the interior of South America just prior to the Spanish Empire's relegation of Paraguay to the status of a provincial outpost of Buenos Aires, and a buffer state against the Portuguese in Brazil. The map embraces the Rio de la Plata watershed well into Brazil and the Amazon, Includes the modern-day nations of Uruguay, Paraguay, and parts of adjacent Brazil and Argentina. Rich detail is offered throughout, naming mountains, rivers, national boundaries, cities, regions, and indigenous tribes. Identifies Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero, and numerous other important South American cities.
Laguna de Xarayes
The map features a prominent Lake of Xarayes at the northern terminus of the Paraguay River. 'Xarayes' is a corruption of 'Xaraies' meaning 'Masters of the River.' The Xaraies were an indigenous people occupying what are today parts of Brazil's Matte Grosso and the Pantanal. When Spanish and Portuguese explorers first navigated up the Paraguay River, as always in search of El Dorado, they encountered the vast Pantanal flood plain at the height of its annual inundation. Understandably misinterpreting the flood plain as a gigantic inland sea, they named it after the local inhabitants, the Xaraies. The Laguna de los Xarayes almost immediately began to appear on early maps of the region and, at the same time, almost immediately took on a legendary aspect as the gateway to El Dorado.

A large decorative title cartouche appears in the lower right quadrant.
Publication History and Census
The map was engraved by Rigobert Bonne in 1771 for inclusion as plate no. C 34 in Jean Lattre's Atlas Moderne. The separate map is scarce in institutional collections, but does appear on the market. Lattre's Atlas Moderne is well represented in OCLC.


Rigobert Bonne (October 6, 1727 - September 2, 1794) was one of the most important French cartographers of the late 18th century. Bonne was born in Ardennes à Raucourt, France. He taught himself mathematics and by eighteen was a working engineer. During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) he served as a military engineer at Berg-op-Zoom. It the subsequent years Bonne became one of the most respected masters of mathematics, physics, and geography in Paris. In 1773, Bonne succeeded Jacques-Nicolas Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity, Bonne compiled some of the most detailed and accurate maps of the period - most on an equal-area projection known erroneously as the 'Bonne Projection.' Bonne's work represents an important step in the evolution of the cartographic ideology away from the decorative work of the 17th and early 18th century towards a more scientific and practical aesthetic. While mostly focusing on coastal regions, the work of Bonne is highly regarded for its detail, historical importance, and overall aesthetic appeal. Bonne died of edema in 1794, but his son Charles-Marie Rigobert Bonne continued to publish his work well after his death.

Jean Lattre (fl. 1743 - 1793) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattre 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 Lattre 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. Lattre's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France.


Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c.1778.    


Very good condition. Two filled worm tracks in margins not affecting printed image, else excellent.


Rumsey 2612.079. Phillips (Atlases) 664. National Maritime Museum, 215.