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1778 Vaugondy Map of Mexico, Central America, Florida and the West Indies

Nouvelle Espagne, Nouvelle Mexique, Isles Antiles. - Main View

1778 Vaugondy Map of Mexico, Central America, Florida and the West Indies



Nouvelle Espagne, Nouvelle Mexique, Isles Antiles.
  1778 (undated)     10.5 x 13 in (26.67 x 33.02 cm)     1 : 20000000


This is an uncommon 1778 map of Mexico, the Gulf Coast, Florida and West Indies by Robert de Vaugondy. Centered on the Gulf Coast, it covers from Baja California to Florida and the Lesser Antilles, and from the Chesapeake Bay south as far as Bogota in Columbia. Being primarily a map of Mexico and the Spanish holdings in North America, this excellent map details the various Mexican states naming countless towns, villages, and haciendas.

The map extends northward into the vast and largely unknown American West. Vaugondy sets the Rio del Palma as the northern border of New Spain (Mexico) and the border of Louisiana just west of the Mississippi, clearly defining the regional boundaries of 'Nouveau Mexique' roughly along the lines of early 19th century Texas. The Mississippi Valley itself is poorly represented, as is Florida, whose southern top is a network of islands and canals â€' a common if primitive attempt to describe the everglades.

An inset in the top right quadrant features the Azores Islands of Portugal. This map was engraved by E. Dussy and issued by Robert de Vaugondy in 1778.


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. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold. Minor spotting.


Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 481, state 2.