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1873 Roche-Poncié Nautical Chart Map of Taiwan / Formosa

Carte de la Mer de Chine (4eme. Feuille) Détroit de Formose. - Main View

1873 Roche-Poncié Nautical Chart Map of Taiwan / Formosa


Issued in response to headhunters in South Formosa.


Carte de la Mer de Chine (4eme. Feuille) Détroit de Formose.
  1873 (dated)     26.25 x 38.5 in (66.675 x 97.79 cm)     1 : 750000


This is a rare 1873 French Depot de Marine nautical chart of Taiwan / Formosa and vicinity. The map is centered on Taiwan, but includes parts of Fujian, China, the Pescadores / Penghu Islands, and the Yaeyama Islands (Iles Majico Sima). This map was issued at a time when Taiwan was heavily in the news - headhunters of coruse - which can account for the issue and reissue of this chart from 1867 through the present 1873 edition.
Headhunters in South Formosa
On March 12, 1867 an American merchant ship, The Rover, shipwrecked on the dangers reefs off the coast of southern Formosa while en route from Swatow to Newchwang. Fourteen American sailors, including the Captain Joseph Hunt and his wife Mercy G. Beerman Hunt, were slaughtered by the indigenous Taiwanese Paiwan peoples - supposedly in retaliation for the slaughter of several neighboring Kaolut tribesman by unnamed 'foreigners' (probably Japanese). The U.S. Government subsequently sent a punitive expedition, the Formosa Expedition to extract retribution but this too met its fate at the hands of the Paiwan. There can be little doubt that the event, known as the 'The Rover Incident' (羅發號事件), underscored the need for better nautical charts of the region and inspired the 1867 update and reissue of this map.
Headhunters - Again
A very similar incident followed in December of 1871, accounting for the next two updates in 1872. The Mundan Incident began in 1871, when a Rukyuan tax boat shipwrecked on an uncharted reef in the treacherous waters near the southern tip of Taiwan. The disoriented crew of 66 wandered some 100 km inland to the region of Mudan, where they were captured by the Paiwan who subsequently beheaded 54 of them. The remaining crew members managed to escape with the help of Han Chinese soldiers to the Qing controlled city of Tainan, on the west coast of Formosa. From there, they were transported to Fuzhou, Fujian and ultimately back to the Ryukyus.
Japanese Punitive Expedition of 1874
One year after this map was issued, the Japanese retaliated. The Japanese Punitive Expedition to Taiwan (台湾出兵) was an 1874 military expedition launched by Imperial Japan in retaliation for the Mundan Incident (牡丹社事件). The Taiwan Expedition, as it is known in Japan, marked the first Imperial Japanese military and naval expedition outside of Japan and set the stage for the Japanese annexation of Ryukyu in 1879 and Taiwan in 1895. Imperial Japan sought redress from the Qing, but their pleas were rejected by because the Qing considered Ryukyu Islands a subject state, therefore any chastisement would be an internal matter, and the Paiwan themselves were considered unacculturated aboriginals outside of Qing jurisdiction. Imperial Japan took the Qing response as a rejection of sovereignty over both the Ryukyu kingdom and eastern Taiwan. Japan launched its own retaliatory mission in May of 1874, in which Saigō Tsugumichi led 3600 Japanese soldiers to Paiwan territory. In the Battle of Stone Gate, the Paiwan were soundly defeated. The Japanese army subsequently withdrew from Taiwan after the Qing agreed to pay an indemnity of 500,000 Kuping Taels (18.7 tons of silver) in a British arbitrated agreement.

Subsequently the Qing realized that they needed to assert greater control over the indigenous peoples of Eastern Taiwan and began a series of trade missions and military incursions. Their efforts began to yield results but were stymied by the Japanese takeover of Taiwan in 1895. With their far more brutal methods, Imperial Japan became the first government to fully control the island of Formosa.
Publication History and Census
Frist published in 1853, this map was compiled and drawn for the French Dépôt de Marine by Ferdinand Antoine Jules de la Roche-Poncié. The map was engraved by Chassant, and the lettering was completed by Jacques-Marie Hacq. It is loosely based on British Admiralty charts of the same period. It was later updated and revised with numerous significant updates to the present edition, 1873. Scarce, the only other example we have identified is located at the British Library at St. Pancras.


Ferdinand Antoine Jules de la Roche-Poncié (August 19, 1810 – March 30, 1881) was a French hydrographic engineer and cartographer active throughout the 19th century. Poncié was born in Vauxrenard, France. After graduating from the École Polytechnique in 1829 he joined the French navy, becoming a naval hydrographic engineer in 1832. Numerous important French surveys bear his name, including the first detailed hydrographic survey of the St. Pierre and Miquelon Islands, and numerous maps of East Asian waters. He received the Legion of Honor in 1841, ultimately attaining the grade of Commander. In 1860 he settled in Paris where he became a member of the Hydrographic Committee under Rear-Admiral Pierre Mathieu. He died in Paris in 1881. More by this mapmaker...

Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Marine (fl. 1720 - present), often called the Dépôt de Marine, was a French hydrographic mapping organization founded in 1720 under Charles-Hercule of Albert de Luynes (1674 - 1734). Much like the U.S. Coast Survey, the British Admiralty, and the Spanish Deposito Hydrografico, the Dépôt was initiated as a storehouse and distribution center of existing nautical and marine charts. Eventually the Dépôt initiated its own mapping activities in an attempt to improve and expand upon existing material. Some of the more prominent cartographers and hydrographers associated with the of Dépôt des Cartes were, Philippe Buache, Jacques-Nicholas Bellin, Giovanni Rizzi-Zannoni, Rigobert Bonne, and Jean Nicolas Buache. Learn More...

Jacques-Marie Hacq (September 22, 1785 – 18??) was a French letter and line engraver, and historian, active in Paris during the middle part of the 19th century. Hacq was born in Paris and trained under J. P. Besançon, who he succeeded at the Dépôt de la Guerre in 1830. He engraved for the Dépôt de la Guerre as early as 1830 and for the Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Marine from, at least, 1840 to 1852. In addition to his work for the French Government, he also completed maps and engravings for Lesage, Lapie, Dufour, Duperrez, Gouvion St. Cyr, and Dumont d'Urville. His historical works include a history of the Napoleonic Wars and a history of Paris under the reign of Louis XIII. During most of his career in Paris he lived at 58 Rue de la Harpe. Learn More...

Chassant (fl. c. 1830 - 1860) was a French line and chart engraver active in Paris in the middle part of the 19th century. Chassant was active with the French Dépôt de Marine from the 1830s into the 1860s. He was a master engraver and, some have argued, his dramatic hachuring work to illustrate topography suggests he may have been wasted on nautical charts. Most of his engraving was completed in partnerships with Jacques-Marie Hacq (September 22, 1785 – 18??). Chassant did not sign any of his engravings with a first name or other identifier, so it is difficult to track him down. He may be Alphonse Antoine Louis Chassant (August 1, 1808 - September 7, 1907), who in later life was an art historian and librarian of the city of Évreux. He wrote several books, including works on engraving. We cannot alas verify the connection and it may be pure guesswork. Learn More...


Very good. Some toning.


OCLC 556906428.