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1749 Vaugondy Map of the Cape Verde Islands

Les Isles du Cap-Verd. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy Fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ord. du Roi. - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of the Cape Verde Islands


Uncommon hand colored map of the Cape Verde Islands, a popular tourist destination.


Les Isles du Cap-Verd. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy Fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ord. du Roi.
  1749 (dated)     6.5 x 7.5 in (16.51 x 19.05 cm)     1 : 2000000


This is a hand colored 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of the Cape Verde Islands, now known as Cabo Verde. The map depicts all 10 islands in the Cape Verde archipelago, which is located 350 miles off the coast of West Africa. Each of the islands is labeled, and several locations on each of the islands are identified.

The Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered the islands around 1456. Portuguese settlers began arriving in 1462 and founded the first permanent European settlement in the tropics. The archipelago prospered at the height of the slave trade, and thus became a frequent target for pirates and privateers. Following the decline of the slave trade, the economy fell into a crisis. But, thanks to their position along the mid-Atlantic trade routes, the Cape Verde Islands quickly became an idea location for re-supplying ships. In 1951, Portugal changed the status of the Cape Verde Islands from a colony to an overseas province, in an effort to snuff out a growing nationalist movement. In the end, however, the Cape Verde Islands gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Since independence, the country has developed a thriving economy. Their economy is largely service based and tourism and remittances from expatriates also play a key role. The Cape Verde Islands also strongly encourage foreign investment.

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. 207, 445. OCLC 11454595.