Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres (November 22, 1721 - October 24. 1824) was born in Switzerland in 1721. He is known to have attended the University of Basel where he tutored under the great mathematician Daniel Bernoulli. Following his studies in Basel, Des Barres immigrated to Great Britain where he continued his education at the Royal Military College of Woolwich. Sometime in the 1850s Des Barres joined the American Regiment of the Royal Army in the capacity of Military Engineer. He was assigned to the team surveying the St. Lawrence River where he worked with the legendary cartographer Samuel Holland as well as the young James Cook. Afterwards Des Barres went on to survey and map the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Des Barres work is known for its stunning combination of accuracy and aesthetic appeal. Augustyn, in Manhattan in Maps writes that with Des Barres, "nautical charting took an unprecedented leap toward greater precision and graphic sophistication". Upon his return to England in 1774, Des Barres was assigned to compile all of the most current cartographic information on the New World into the seminal Atlantic Neptune, which has been described as the "most splendid collection of charts, plates and views ever published" (National Maritime Museum Catalogue). Des Barres would eventually return to Canada where he lived another forty years as a wealthy land owner and active political figure. He died at the ripe old age of 103, one of the few centenarians of the early 19th century.

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