Plan du Port de St. Francois, situe sur la cote de la Californie Septentrionale. La Pointe des Rois par 37°59' de latitude nord et 124°54' de longitude occidentale.
1797 (undated) 19.5 x 13.5 in (49.53 x 34.29 cm)
1 : 420000
A fine example of La Perouse's important 1797 map of San Francisco Bay. This is the earliest obtainable map of San Francisco Bay. The map may seem a little hard to decipher by modern standards. It is oriented to the Northeast, the peninsula emerging from the right is the location of the modern urban center of modern Francisco, with the Golden Gate being the tiny entrance into he larger bay. The general form of San Pablo Bay, which leads into Suisun Bay is evident at the top of the map. The greater part of San Francisco Bay, extending towards the right side of the map is significantly truncated. The map identifies 21 place names, including Alcatraz, the Presidio, Merced, the Mission of San Francisco, and other landmarks, alphanumerically via a table integrated into the title cartouche.
La Perouse, on his great around the world voyage, passed San Francisco Bay on September 10 while coasting southwards on his way to Monterrey, the last stop before heading out across the Pacific towards Manila and the Philippines. La Perouse did not personally survey the Bay, instead he most likely obtained the data for this map from the Spanish pilot Francisco Antonio Mourelle de la Rúa (1750-1820) in Manilla. Cartographically the map is similar to the Dalrymple Plan of 1789, which itself is based on the charts of Don Jose' de Cañizares (1776) and José Camacho y Brenes (1779 and 1785).
La Perouse died tragically on a shipwreck near the Solomon Islands. His journals were shipped back to Europe from Australia before the shipwreck and posthumously published in 1797, along with an accompanying atlas volume, from which this map was drawn, Atlas du voyage de La Perouse.
Jean François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse (August 23, 1741 - 1788) was a French naval officer, navigator, and explorer active in the later part of the 18th century. Born into a noble family of Albi, France, La Perouse entered the navel college of Brest at just 15. At seventeen La Perouse made his first naval voyage, a supply expedition to the fort of Louisbourg in New France. He later participated in a number of naval battles, mostly against the English, and eventually rose to the rank of Commodore. In 1782 he captured the English forts Prince of Wales and York, making a name for himself back in France. Following the British defeat at the end of the American Revolutionary War, La Perouse was appointed by Louis XVI to lead an expedition of discovery circumnavigating the globe. The goal of the expedition was to complete and correct the maps of the Pacific drawn by Captain Cook. La Perouse's two frigates, the Astrolabe and the Boussole rounded Cape Horn and entered the Pacific in 1785. Crisscrossing the Pacific from Macau and Japan to Alaska, Vancouver, and the Hawaiian Islands Perouse made numerous discoveries and adding considerably to the cartographic corpus, particularly along the coast of British Columbia and around Japan. In Australia La Perouse sent his last letter back to France containing all of his maps and research. Tragically, on the return voyage La Perouse ran into a violent storm which left both of his frigates shipwrecked on the Polynesian island of Vanikoro, part of the Santa Cruz Group. Some of the survivors of the shipwrecks seem to have managed to live on the island for years afterwards. As late as 1790 the English Captain Edward Edwards saw smoke signals coming from Vanikoro but foolishly declined to investigate. Expeditions in 2005 and in 2008 identified the remains of both ships and retuned numerous artifacts from the ill-fated expedition to France. The importance of La Perouse's discoveries was, unfortunately, not seriously appreciated until many years later because, when the La Perouse maps were finally published in 1797, newer more accurate maps of the region were already in circulation. Nonetheless, La Perouse remains of the titans of Pacific exploration and he work paved the path forward for all future expeditions to the region.
La Perouse, Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de, Atlas du voyage de La Perouse, (Paris) 1797.
Very good. Original folds exhibits slight wear. Some offsetting.
Rumsey 3355.033. Wagner, H. R., The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America To the Year 1800, #846. Shirley, R., Maps in the atlases of the British Library, G.LPR-1a #33.