1733 Homann Heirs Map of Southern South America (Paraguay, Chile, Argentina)

Typus Geographicus Chili Paraguay Freti Magellanicietc.

1733 Homann Heirs Map of Southern South America (Paraguay, Chile, Argentina)


Based on the work of Delisle.

SOLD. Call for off-line availability


Typus Geographicus Chili Paraguay Freti Magellanicietc.
  1733 (dated)    20 x 23 in (50.8 x 58.42 cm)     1 : 1480000


This is an extraordinary example of the Homann Heirs magnificent 1733 map of southern South America. It covers roughly from 18 degrees south latitude south to Tierra del Fuego, and includes the modern day nations of Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina along with the southern portions of Brazil and Bolivia. The map renders the entire region in extraordinary detail offering both topographical and political information with forest and mountains beautifully rendered in profile.

Based on the work of Guillaume De L’Isle and includes information from the explorations of de Brouwer, Narborough and de Beauchesne. A beautifully detailed plan of the city of Santiago is featured in the lower right of the map.

This map, like most early maps of the area, offers a fairly accurate mapping of both the east and west coasts with exceptional detail. The interior is where this map gets interesting. Delisle was a cautious and scientific cartographer, who based his maps on the first hand reports from sailors, merchants and missionaries that, at the time, were flowing into Paris at an unprecedented rate. This map is no exception and credits the mappings and explorations of this region to Afonso de Ovalle and Nicholas Techo. The relatively easy navigation along the Rio de La Plata and its tributaries, as well as the relative narrowness of the continent and accessibility of the Pampas, offered ample opportunity for easy mapping. Nonetheless, the mapping of South America's interior is full of inaccuracy, curiosities, and ample fodder for the gold hunting European.

Our survey of the map begins with the suggestion that the Santa Cruz River, or the 'Rio St. Julien' as it is labeled here, connects (or nearly so) with the Rio de la Campana coming from the Pacific, thus connecting the Atlantic to the South Seas via an easy overland river route. The idea of a river route transversing Patagonia caught the European imagination in the early 18th Century. The writer Daniel Defoe proposes a similar route further north in his book A New Voyage and such concepts appeared in several maps of the period including Herman Moll's important map of the South Sea Company. Of course, the Andes were in fact an indomitable barrier and short of the treacherous Strait of Magellan itself, no such water route existed.

Some other interesting elements of this map appear far from the mainland in the surrounding seas. The Falklands are depicted in an embryonic form as identified by Captain La Roche in 1675. Just above the inset, another island appears, supposedly discovered by La Roche in 1675, and is mostly likely a mis-mapping of South Georgia Island.

Overall a wonderful presentation of the southern part of South America.


Johann Baptist Homann (March 20, 1664 - July 1, 1724) was the most prominent and prolific map publisher of the 18th century. Homann was born in Oberkammlach, a small town near Kammlach, Bavaria, Germany. As a young man Homann studied in a Jesuit school and nursed ambitions of becoming a Dominican priest before converting to Protestantism in 1687. Following his conversion, Homann moved to Nuremberg and found employment as a notary. Around 1693 Homan briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Afterwards he returned to Nuremberg where, in 1702, he founded the commercial publishing firm that would bear his name. In the next five years Homann produced hundreds of maps and developed a distinctive style characterized by heavy detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. The Homann firm, due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, was able to undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching the diversity and quality of their output. By 1715 Homann's rising star caught the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the VI, who appointed him Imperial Cartographer. In the same year he was also appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Homann's prestigious title came with a number of important advantages including access to the most up to date cartographic information as well as the "Privilege". The Privilege was a type of early copyright offered to a few individuals by the Holy Roman Emperor. Though not as sophisticated as modern copyright legislation, the Privilege did offer a kind of limited protection for several years. Most all J. B. Homann maps printed between 1715 and 1730 bear the inscription "Cum Priviligio" or some variation. Following Homann's death in 1726, the management of the firm passed to his son Johann Christoph Homann (1703 - 1730). J. C. Homann, perhaps realizing that he would not long survive his father, stipulated in his will that the company would be inherited by his two head managers, Johann Georg Ebersberger and Johann Michael Franz, and that it would publish only under the name Homann Heirs. This designation, in various forms (Homannsche Heirs, Heritiers de Homann, Lat Homannianos Herod, Homannschen Erben, etc..) appears on maps from about 1731 onwards. The firm continued to publish maps in ever diminishing quantities until the death of its last owner, Christoph Franz Fembo in 1848.

The De L'Isle family (fl. c. 1700 - c. 1760) (also written Delisle) were, in composite, a mapmaking tour de force who redefined early 18th century European cartography. Claude De L'Isle (1644 -1720), the family patriarch, was Paris based a historian and geographer under Nicholas Sanson. De L'Isle and his sons were proponents of the school of "positive geography" and were definitive figures, defining the heights of the Golden Age of French Cartography. Of his twelve sons, four, Guillaume (1675- 1726), Simon Claude (1675 - 1726), Joseph Nicholas (1688 - 1768) and Louis (1720 - 1745), made a significant contributions to cartography. Without a doubt Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. It is said that Guillaume's skill as a cartographer was so prodigious that he drew his first map at just nine years of age. He was tutored by J. D. Cassini in astronomy, science, mathematics and cartography. By applying these diverse disciplines to the vast stores of information provided by 18th century navigators, Guillaume created the technique that came to be known as "scientific cartography", essentially an extension of Sanson's "positive geography". This revolutionary approach transformed the field of cartography and created a more accurate picture of the world. Among Guillaume's many firsts are the first naming of Texas, the first correct map of the Mississippi, the final rejection of the insular California fallacy, and the first identification of the correct longitudes of America. Stylistically De L'Isle also initiated important changes to the medium, eschewing the flamboyant Dutch style of the previous century in favor of a highly detailed yet still decorative approach that yielded map both beautiful and informative. Guillaume was elected to the French Academie Royale des Sciences at 27. Later, in 1718, he was also appointed "Premier Geographe du Roi", an office created especially for him. De L'Isle personally financed the publication of most of his maps, hoping to make heavy royalties on their sales. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1728, leaving considerable debt and an impoverished child and widow. De L'Isle's publishing firm was taken over by his assistant, Phillipe Buache who became, posthumously, his son in law. The other De L'Isle brothers, Joseph Nicholas and Louis De L'Isle, were employed in the Service of Peter the Great of Russia as astronomers and surveyors. They are responsible for cataloguing and compiling the data obtained from Russian expeditions in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America, including the seminal explorations of Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov. The De L'Isles, like their rivals the Vaugondys , 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. 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.


Very good. Some wear and toning along original centerfold. Minor creasing and offsetting. Verso repair along damage near centerfold. Minor foxing. Original platemark visible.