Carte tres curieuse de la Mer du Sud, contenant des remarques nouvelles et tres utiles non seulement sur les ports et iles de cette mer

Author: Chatelain, Henri Abraham
Date: 1719
Location: Atlantic Ocean, North America, Pacific Ocean, South America, Western Hemisphere

Dimensions: 82.0 x 143.0 cm.
Scale: 1:20,000,000


To learn how this map can be used in the classroom click here

Richly decorated in the tradition of Dutch cartography, this map extends from eastern Asia to western Europe but focuses on the Pacific Ocean and the Americas. It is attributed to Henri Abraham Chatelain, a Huguenot pastor of Parisian origins who lived successively in London, The Hague, and then Amsterdam. This "very curious" map was included in the seven-volume work entitled ''Atlas Historique'', published between 1705 and 1720. This encyclopedic work was devoted to the history and genealogy of the continents, discussing such topics as geography, cosmography, topography, heraldry, and ethnography. Although the atlas was published anonymously, it was apparently compiled by Chatelain or his family, and the text was contributed by Nicolas Gueudeville, a French geographer.

Appearing in the sixth volume which was devoted to the Americas, this map was a celebration of the age of discovery and the character of the New World. Reflecting the encyclopedic style of the atlas, this information-rich map included more than 35 insets and vignettes. Nine medallions at the top center portrayed important explorers including Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan, Drake, and Dampier, while the tracks of their voyages were marked on the map. The marginal vignettes range from narrative scenes depicting colonial economies based on beaver, cod, and sugar to geographic insets providing large-scale maps of significant locations, such as the Mississippi delta, Niagara Falls, the Cape of Good Hope, as well as numerous cities and towns.

Although California was depicted as an island on this map, there was a notation indicating that some Europeans believed it was attached to the mainland. Consequently, this was one of the first European maps to question the myth of California as an island as depicted on many Dutch and English maps since the 1630s This map includes portraits of explorers, illustrations of indigenous peoples, wildlife, flora, historical notes, and ecclesiastical plot ownerships in Havana and Veracruz.

In upper right margin: Tom: VI. No. 30. Pag 117

Shows sailing routes of explorers .

Prime meridian: L'Isle de Fer.

Relief shown pictorially.

In order to view this page you need Flash Player 9+ support!

Get Adobe Flash player

Map Viewer: Modern - [change] | [FULLSCREEN]
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (