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1697 Coronelli Map of Madagascar and part of Southern Africa

Isola di Madagascar, o di S. Lorenzo scoperta da Portoghesi nell'Anno 1506, Descritta dal P. Mrō Coronelli M.C. Cosmografo della Rep: Di Venetia, Dedicata All' Sigr. Antonio Magliabecchi, Bibliotecario dell' A. Serenissima Del Gran Duca di Toscana. - Main View

1697 Coronelli Map of Madagascar and part of Southern Africa


A richly detailed map revealing early European settlement and administration.


Isola di Madagascar, o di S. Lorenzo scoperta da Portoghesi nell'Anno 1506, Descritta dal P. Mrō Coronelli M.C. Cosmografo della Rep: Di Venetia, Dedicata All' Sigr. Antonio Magliabecchi, Bibliotecario dell' A. Serenissima Del Gran Duca di Toscana.
  1697 (undated)     23.75 x 18 in (60.325 x 45.72 cm)     1 : 1011588


This is Vincenzo Maria Coronelli's 1697 map of Madagascar. It is the most detailed of the 17th century maps of the island. While the southeastern portion of the island reflects the cartography of Étienne de Flacourt, who from 1648 to 1653 was French East India’s Governor of Madagascar, and who in 1658 published the first natural history of the island, this map includes detail beyond that which appeared in any of the French or Dutch maps sourced from Flacourt's manuscripts. Typical of Coronelli's meticulously researched work, the map provides a granular catalogue of the toponymy of the island's coastline. The interior has been broken into administrative regions and includes tribal names not present on any earlier printed maps of which we are aware.
Isle St. Marie
Just off the east coast of Madagascar lies the Isle St. Marie, also named Nossi Hibrahin and Isle d' Abraham on the map. First named Santa Maria by the Portuguese, it was the site of several failed attempts at settlement by the French and the English in the 1640s. This state of affairs would not last: by the time this map was produced, Isle St. Marie would become an infamous haven for English and French pirates preying on the ships passing to and from India. This map includes three settlements, including S. Marguerite.

It is notable that an indigenous name for the island appears here on the map. Isle St. Marie's Malagasy name is Nosy Boraha; Some sources associate the name 'Boraha' with a local legendary Jonah-esque whale incident, but more frequently the name is translated to 'The Island of Abraham.' The origin of the name is obscure, but the name appearing on the map, Nossi Hibrahin, tends to reinforce not only the association with Abraham, but the notion that the name was first applied to the island by Arabic traders, whom the Portuguese had taken pains to drive from the island, partly for reasons of religion and partly to remove competition in trade.
La Réunion
To the east of Madagascar appears I. De Bourbon, also named Mascaregne on the map, and now known as La Réunion. This island is shown on maps of Africa going back into the 16th century. The island was first named by Europeans Santa Apollonia, a name given by the Portuguese, who visited the island in the first decade of the 16th century. No attempt to settle was made then, but in 1638 the French claimed it, officially occupying it in 1642 (by marooning a dozen mutineers there.) The French would change the name to Île Bourbon in 1649, in honor of the French royal house. While the shape of the island is only approximate, its volcanic nature is revealed with the name Paese Incendiato. The island possesses one of the world's most active volcanoes, whose hundreds of recorded eruptions go back to the 17th century. The French East India Company would not seriously attempt colonization of Île Bourbon until 1665, two years before the publication of this map. The wealth of place names on the coast of the island here - much more than appear on earlier French maps of the region - suggests that Coronelli's source may have been positioned in or near the French East India Company.
A Remarkable Dedicatee
The curious reader is encouraged to search out an image of the bust, crafted by the artist Antonio Montaiuti, of Antonio di Marco Magliabecchi - the dedicatee of this map. The artist appears to have captured the spirit of this Florentine librarian, a formidable scholar and bibliophile as dedicated to learning as he was not to the tidiness of his clothes and the maintenance of his personal relationships. Among bibliophiles he was truly a giant, in that he was reputed to have actually read all the books he bought. And he bought many: his library consisted of forty thousand books and ten thousand manuscripts. He so valued his time reading that he would not take time to change clothes or even undress for bed. This eccentric figure was, despite the obvious, visceral challenges of associating with him, sought out by scholars from all over Europe for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and it is plain that Coronelli valued his assistance greatly enough to dedicate this map to him.
Publication History and Census
There are only three examples of the separate map listed in OCLC; Harvard, the Bibliotheque National, and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Coronelli's Atlante veneto is, however, well represented in institutional collections.


Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (August 16, 1650 - December 9, 1718) was an important 17th century cartographer and globe maker based in Venice. Coronelli was born the fifth child of a Venetian tailor. Unlikely to inherit his father's business, he instead apprenticed in Ravenna to a woodcut artist. Around 1663, Coronelli joined the Franciscan Order and in 1671, entered the Venetian convent of Saint Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Coronelli excelled in the fields of cosmography, mathematics, and geography. Although his works include the phenomenal Atlante Veneto and Corso Geografico, Coronelli is best known for his globes. In 1678 Coronelli was commissioned to make his first major globes by Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma. Each superbly engraved globe was five feet in diameter. Louis IV of France, having heard of the magnificent Parma globes, invited Coronelli to Paris where he constructed an even more impressive pair of gigantic globes measuring over 12 feet in diameter and weighing 2 tons each. Coronelli returned to Venice and continued to published globes, maps, and atlases which were admired all over Europe for their beauty, accuracy, and detail. He had a particular fascination for the Great Lakes region and his early maps of this area were unsurpassed in accuracy for nearly 100 years after their initial publication. He is also well known for his groundbreaking publication of the first accurate map depicting the sources of the Blue Nile. At the height of his career, Coronelli founded the world's first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was awarded the official title Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. In 1699, in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishment and scholarship, Coronelli was also appointed Father General of the Franciscan Order. The great cartographer and globe maker died in Venice at the age of 68. His extraordinary globes can be seen today at the Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand in Paris, Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, in the National Library of Austria and in the Globe Museum in Vienna, in the library of Stift Melk, in the Special Collections Library of Texas Tech University, as well as lesser works in Trier, Prague, London, and Washington D.C. Coronelli's work is notable for its distinctive style, which is characterized by high quality white paper, dark intense impressions, detailed renderings of topographical features in profile, and numerous cartographic innovations. More by this mapmaker...


Coronelli, V. Atlante Veneto. (Albrizzi, Venice) 1697.    


Very good. Old mend to centerfold. Margin extended on upper right with some loss of border.


Rumsey 11391.096. OCLC 714043656.