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1792 Wilkinson Map of the West Indies and Caribbean

An Accurate Map of the West Indies from the Latest Improvements.

1792 Wilkinson Map of the West Indies and Caribbean




An Accurate Map of the West Indies from the Latest Improvements.
  1793 (dated)    8 x 10.5 in (20.32 x 26.67 cm)     1 : 7300000


This is a fine 1793 map of the West Indies and the Caribbean by Robert Wilkinson. Wilkinson's map covers the West Indies, from the Mexican Coast to the Windward Islands, inclusive of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Florida, the Spanish Main, the Bahamas, and the Greater Antilles. The tentative British claims in Belize and on the Mosquito Coast, where English buccaneers, pirates, and privateers set up makeshift unofficial colonies from which to raid Spanish treasure fleets, are noted. As this region was highly important to British maritime commercial and military interests, Wilkinson also identifies various shoals and other undersea dangers throughout.

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.

This map was engraved by Thomas Conder and issued as plate no. 43 in the 1792 edition of Robert Wilkinson's General Atlas.


Robert Wilkinson (fl. c. 1758 - 1825) was a London based map and atlas publisher active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of Wilkinson's maps were derived from the earlier work of John Bowles, one of the preeminent English map publishers of the 18th century. Wilkinson's acquired the Bowles map plate library following that cartographer's death in 1779. Wilkinson updated and retooled the Bowles plates over several years until, in 1794, he issued his first fully original atlas, The General Atlas of the World. This popular atlas was profitably reissued in numerous editions until about 1825 when Wilkinson died. In the course of his nearly 45 years in the map and print trade, Wilkinson issued also published numerous independently issued large format wall, case, and folding maps. Wilkinson's core cartographic corpus includes Bowen and Kitchin's Large English Atlas (1785), Speer's West Indies (1796), Atlas Classica (1797), and the General Atlas of the World (1794, 1802, and 1809), as well as independent issue maps of New Holland (1820), and North America ( 1823). Wilkinson's offices were based at no. 58 Cornhill, London form 1792 to 1816, following which he relocated to 125 Frenchurch Street, also in London, where he remained until 1823. Following his 1825 death, Wilkinson's business and map plates were acquired by William Darton, an innovative map publisher who reissued the General Atlas with his own imprint well into the 19th century.

Thomas Conder (1747 - June 1831) was an English map engraver and bookseller active in London during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. From his shop at 30 Bucklersbury, London, Conder produced a large corpus of maps and charts, usually in conjunction with other publishers of his day, including Wilkinson, Moore, Kitchin, and Walpole. Unfortunately few biographical facts regarding Conder's life have survived. Thomas Conder was succeeded by his son Josiah Conder who, despite being severely blinded by smallpox, followed in his father's footsteps as a bookseller and author of some renown.


Wilkinson, R., A General Atlas being A Collection of Maps of the World and Quarters the Principal Empires, Kingdoms, etc. with their several Provinces, and other Subdivisions, Correctly Delineated, (London) 1792.    


Very good. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 1201.050 (1794 edition).
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