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1749 Vaugondy Map of Cape Breton Island, Canada

Isle Royale. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, Fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ord du Roi - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of Cape Breton Island, Canada


Very rare map of Cape Breton Island, Canada.


Isle Royale. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, Fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ord du Roi
  1749 (dated)     7 x 8 in (17.78 x 20.32 cm)     1 : 1350000


This is a hand colored 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of Cape Breton Island. Specific maps of Cape Breton Island are extremely rare. The map depicts the whole of Cape Breton Island from Port Hawkesbury to Bay Saint Lawrence and the extreme northeastern coast of Nova Scotia (Accadie).

The map is titled Isle Royale because in 1749 Cape Breton Island was the French colony Isle Royale. Isle Royale was part of New France from 1713 to 1763. Isle Royale came into French possession following the War of the Spanish Succession. The map depicts the colonial capital of Louisbourg, which was founded in 1713. Isle Royale became a battleground in the wars between Britain and France for control of North America. The French built a fortress at Louisbourg, to protect their North American possessions and the fishermen who worked the seas around Isle Royale. During the wars between the British and the French in the 18th century, Louisbourg fell under siege twice, once in 1745, after which Isle Royale was returned to the French, and again in 1758 during the Seven Years' War. Isle Royale was officially ceded to Great Britain in 1763, when it became Cape Breton Island.

This map was published by Gilles Robert de Vaugondy in his Atlas Universel, Portatif et Militaire in the 1749 edition.


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...


Robert de Vaugondy, G. Atlas Portatif, Universel, et Militaire (Paris: Vaugondy, Durand, Pissot) 1749.    


Very good. Blank on verso. Original press mark visible.


Pedley, M. S., Bel et Utile, p. 213, 463.