Scarce French & Indian War Map of the Chesapeake Region
Detailed map of the Chesapeake, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware (immediately prior to the settlement between Penn and Lord Baltimore, with Delaware properly shown as part of Pennsylvania), and contiguous regions.
The map shows towns, roads, villages, churches, meeting houses, rivers, mountains, inlets, islands and a host of other details. A nice map of the region, issued just prior to the start of the French & Indian War. This is 1 of 3 nearly identical maps of the Chesapeake region by Bellin. The others include the name "Virginie" and "Mari-land" in the title respectively.
The present example comes from the Petit Alas Maritime and is the scarcest of the 3 editions of Bellin's map of the region, each with a different title. While the title is the easiest way to spot the differences, the map appears to be completely engraved, most noticeably the unique topographical depiction of the coastline and river within the land mass, which is changed completely from other editions, where the coastal detail is shown in the water, not on land, a curious stylistic change that gives a three dimensional quality to this edition of the map.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was among the most important mapmakers of the eighteenth century. In 1721, at age 18, he was appointed hydrographer (chief cartographer) to the French Navy. In August 1741, he became the first Ingénieur de la Marine of the Depot des cartes et plans de la Marine (the French Hydrographic Office) and was named Official Hydrographer of the French King.
During his term as Official Hydrographer, the Depot was the single most active center for the production of sea charts and maps, including a large folio format sea-chart of France, the Neptune Francois. He also produced a number of sea-atlases of the world, e.g., the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These gained fame, distinction, and respect all over Europe and were republished throughout the 18th and even in the succeeding century.
Bellin also came out with smaller format maps such as the 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime, containing 580 finely detailed charts. He also contributed many of the maps for Bellin and contributed a number of maps to the 15-volume Histoire Generale des Voyages of Antoine François Prévost or simply known l'Abbe Prevost.
Bellin set a very high standard of workmanship and accuracy, thus gaining for France a leading role in European cartography and geography. Many of his maps were copied by other mapmakers of Europe.