1796 Homann Heirs Map of the West Indies or Caribbean Islands

Karte von Mittel-America oder Westindien.

1796 Homann Heirs Map of the West Indies or Caribbean Islands


Features a misshapen Florida.

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Karte von Mittel-America oder Westindien.
  1796 (dated)    21 x 23 in (53.34 x 58.42 cm)     1 : 6200000


This is a beautiful 1796 map of the West Indies or Caribbean Islands by Homann Heirs. It covers the Caribbean from Florida south to Trinidad and Tobago. Includes Cuba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Santo Domingo, and the Lesser Antilles. Based on the earlier map by Friedrich Gottlieb Canzler, the map rendered the region in detail offering both topographical and political information. British, French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish and Swedish possessions are color coded. As this region was highly important for maritime commercial and military interests, various shoals and undersea dangers are noted throughout. Presents a misshapen Florida. An inset in the lower right quadrant features Guiana.

The Spanish Main was the point of departure for enormous wealth that was shipped back to Spain in the form of gold, silver, gems, spices, hardwoods, hides and other riches; because of this, the area was ripe territory for pirates and privateers. The late 18th and early 19th century saw a resurgence of privateering as successive colonial powers jostled for supremacy in the region. Though piracy was on the rise throughout the Caribbean, nowhere was it more prevalent than in the Windward Passage, a vital maritime trade artery between Cuba and Santo Domingo. This era gave rise to the French pirates Pierre and Jean Lafitte, among the most successful pirates of all time.

A beautiful map of this important region. Issued by the Homann Heirs in 1796.


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.


Very good. Some wear along original centerfold. Minor creasing. Overall age toning and minor foxing. Top and bottom margins extended,


OCLC: 19689723.
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