This is a hand colored 1750 Jacques Nicholas Bellin map of the Tonkin (Tunquin) River, Vietnam. The map depicts the river's course from Cacho (modern Hanoi) to the Bay of Tonkin. The map is oriented slightly to the northeast, as depicted by a compass in the upper left corner. At Cacho, the lap makes special note of the Royal Palace and depicts a collection of buildings around it. Along the course of the river, the map notes several waypoints, most of which are islands, but the map depicts a city 'where the English have a bar.' A pagoda is also depicted on an island near the bay. As the river nears the bay, depth soundings are given, as well as two locations that would serve as a suitable anchorage, which are denoted by anchors.
This map was produced by Jaques Nicholas Bellin for inclusion in Abbé Prévost's Histoire Générale des Voyages, volume IX in 1750.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early-19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne. Learn More...
Prévost, Abbé. Histoire générale des voyages, volume IX.
Very good. Blank on verso. Original press mark visible.