Detailed map of the Bay of Fort-Liberte Santa Domingo, published in Nicholas Bellin's Petit Atlas Maritime.
The chart is oriented with east at the top.
Bellin was the first Ingenieur Hydrographe de la Marine, and also Official Hydrographer to the French King.
The area around Fort-Liberté was originally settled Spanish colonists who founded the city Bayaja in 1578, but abandoned it in 1605. The site was reoccupied by the French in 1732 as Fort-Dauphin; it was captured by Spanish forces in 1794, restored to the French in 1801 and then surrendered to the British in September 1803, shortly before the declaration of independence.
The city has undergone a succession of name changes: Bayaja (1578), Fort-Dauphin (1732), Fort St. Joseph (1804), Fort-Royal (1811) and finally Fort-Liberté (1820).
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.