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1749 Vaugondy Map of Iran and Central Asia

Royaume de Perse. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Geog. du Roi - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of Iran and Central Asia


Map of Iran and Central Asia depicting Isfahan and Kandahar.


Royaume de Perse. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Geog. du Roi
  1749 (dated)     6.5 x 7 in (16.51 x 17.78 cm)     1 : 14400000


This is a 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of Iran and Central Asia. The map depicts from the Ottoman Empire (Iraq) to the Afghan/Indian border and from the Aral Sea and the Caucasus to the Persian Gulf. The Ottoman Empire (Empire du Turc) and Arabia dominate the left side of the map, although Azerbaijan and Georgia are labeled. Iraq (Irac) is labeled, and Baghdad (Bagdad) is present very close to the left border. The Caspian Sea functions as the focal point of the map, descending from the upper border through approximately one third of the map. The Aral Sea is depicted along the top border, but here it is referred to as a lake.

Central Asia is labeled as 'Independent Tartary' (Tatarie Independante) which is comprised by Uzbek Country (Pays des Usbecs). Khorasan (Chorasan) and the great city of Balkh (Balch) are both labeled. The Ancient Greeks knew Balkh as Bactra, and Marco Polo referred to Balkh as 'a great a noble city.' Kandahar (Candahar), one of the major cities in modern Afghanistan, functions here as the name of a city and a region.

In Persia, what is now modern-day Iran, several key cities are labeled. Isfahan (Ispahan) is labeled in bold, block lettering, declaring it's importance to the region. It twice served as the capital of the Persian dynasties, and was particularly respected during the 16th and 17th centuries. Alas, in 1775, the capital was moved from Isfahan to several cities, before finally staying in Tehran. Hormuz (Ormus) and the Strait of Hormuz are both labeled here. The Strait of Hormuz functions as a bottleneck into the Persian Gulf (Golfe Persique), making it one of the most strategic locations in the world today.

Several rivers are depicted, although none of them are labeled. Political divisions are presented through dotted lines, as on all the maps in Vaugondy's Atlas Universel, Portatif et Militaire. Several smaller lakes are labeled, including Lake Van and Lake Chahi as are myriad cities and towns.

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-Fran├žois 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. 198, 388. OCLC 159769840.