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BELLIN, Jacques Nicolas (1703-72)

Carte de L'Isle de Sainte Lucie

      Paris: J.N. Bellin, 1763. Copper-engraved map, in excellent condition, stamped on upper-center with the stamp of the French royal maritime printing office: "De l'Imp. de Dep. de la Mar. à Versail". 24 1/8 x 32 1/2 inches. A very elegant and detailed map of St. Lucia by one of the greatest French cartographers This very fine map of St. Lucia surrounds the island in seas traversed by rhumb lines. The rugged topography of this, one of the most scenic islands of the Caribbean, is captured in great detail. Oriented with the east towards the top of the map, the island features two broad ranges of mountains, which were formed by extreme tectonic activity. In the centre of the island is a plain that features a road, "Chemin de la Longue Chasse ou de la Soufriere" that runs the length of the island. In the lower left of the map is the "Pointe du Gros Piton", the distinctive mountain formation that cascades into the sea, and that is today St. Lucia's most celebrated site. The various aspects of the coast are labelled in great detail, and many places near the sea are dotted with the cultivated fields of sugarcane and banana plantations. Three cartographic insets adorn the upper portions of the map, each depicting one of the island's best harbours. Intended for practical use by mariners, each harbour is heavily detailed with depth soundings and notations of hazards. The insets are "Plan du Port du Carenage" (site of St. Lucia's modern capital of Castries), "Plan du Cul de Sac Des Roseaux" and "Mouilliages du Grande Islet et du Choc". The map is embellished with a very fine title cartouche, bordered by transitional Rococo and Neoclassical motifs, and surmounted by the French royal arms. St. Lucia was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1500, and named for St. Lucy of Syracuse. The French assumed auspices over the island in 1660, having signed a treaty with the indigenous Carib tribe. Over the next century and a half, the island went back and forth fourteen times between French and British sovereignty before the British assumed an enduring hegemony in 1814. The island became an independent member of the Commonwealth in 1979. This map was part of the l'Hydrographie Française, a great sea atlas, published by Bellin in two volumes from 1755 to 1766. This was one of the finest works of the prolific Bellin, the "Hydrographer to the King", who was so highly regarded that the British (who were almost always at war with France) made him a member of their Royal Society. Map Collector's Circle 81, (St. Lucia) 6-9, pl.1

      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2012-02-03          Check current availability from:     Biblio


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