Annotated with the notes of a voyage to around the Tierra del Fuego.
First state of this scarce French Sea chart of the southernmost part of South America, first published by the Depot de la Marine in 1800.
Fine sea chart of the Southernmost coasts of South America, based upon a Spanish sea chart published in Madrid by the Spanish Hydrographical Department, derived from the expedition of Malaspina and shows the tracks of his ships.
The chart is based upon the exploration of the coastlines of Chile, Argentina and Patagonia between 1789 and 1795 by the Spanish Royal Navy, providing significant new details along a coastline which is still somewhat incomplete along the parts of the Patagonia Coastline, Tierra del Fuego, etc.
The primary difference between the French and Spanish charts is the use of rhumb lines by the French.
The map includes annotations which suggest one and as many as 3 different sets of tracks on the east coast, including at least one set which can be seen traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific around Tierra del Fuego.
The map bears the seal of the French Depot de la Marine and a price at the bottom right.
The Dépôt de la Marine, known more formally as the Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine, was the central charting institution of France. The centralization of hydrography in France began in earnest when Jean-Baptiste Colbert became First Minister of France in 1661. Under his watch, the first Royal School of Hydrography began operating, as did the first survey of France’s coasts (1670-1689). In 1680, Colbert consolidated various collections of charts and memoirs into a single assemblage, forming the core of sources for what would become the Dépôt.
The Dépôt itself began as the central deposit of charts for the French Navy. In 1720, the Navy consolidated its collection with those government materials covering the colonies, creating a single large repository of navigation. By 1737, the Dépôt was creating its own original charts and, from 1750, they participated in scientific expeditions to determine the accurate calculation of longitude.
In 1773, the Dépôt received a monopoly over the composition, production, and distribution of navigational materials, solidifying their place as the main producer of geographic knowledge in France. Dépôt-approved charts were distributed to official warehouses in port cities and sold by authorized merchants. The charts were of the highest quality, as many of France’s premier mapmakers worked at the Dépôt in the eighteenth century, including Philippe Bauche, Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Rigobert Bonne, Jean Nicolas Buache, and Charles-François Beautemps-Beaupré.
The Dépôt continued to operate until 1886, when it became the Naval Hydrographic Service. In 1971, it changed names again, this time to the Naval and Oceanographic Service (SHOM). Although its name has changed, its purpose is largely the same, to provide high quality cartographic and scientific information to the France’s Navy and merchant marine.