Del'Isle, Carte des Antilles Françaises et des Isles Voisines...
Published c.1718, Paris
Size: 26" X 15"
A rare map of the Caribbean the depicts the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Grenada, by one the most important cartographers of the 18th Century, Guillaume de l’Isle.
De l’Isle’s contribution to cartography, especially as it pertains to North America, should not be underestimated. It is argued that he was “the first scientific cartographer who incorporated the most current information on exploration and topography into his maps.”
As such this map, as indicated in the cartouche, garnered most, if not all of his information, from the manuscript information provided by the Royal Surveyor of Martinique, Thimothée Petit. However, it should be noted, that it is from Petit that De l’Isle incorrectly depicts Grenada as situated to the West rather than to the South of the Grenadines, a cartographic mistake that would persist with other cartographers such as Ottens, Weigel, Chatelain and Covens and Mortier. This mistake, would be rectified with the re-issue of this map in 1760 by Philippe Buache, Guillaume De L’isle’s son in law and student.
The Antilles, and thus this map, was of particular importance to France as it was from these islands that it ran a profitable sugar trade. It is interesting to observe, that the profits to France in the sugar trade were such that following their defeat in the Seven Year’s War, that it basically traded away their North American colony of Canada, to keep their foothold in their colonial outposts in the Antilles, principally in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
This map is thus of interests in that it reminds the viewer of the competing interests by Britain and France in North American and the Caribbeans for the exploitation of natural resources that would eventually pit these two geo-political powers on a path to global warfare for economic supremacy.
(Source: Rumsey 4764.00)