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This excpetional large format map of the Americas is entitled “Carte tres curieuse de la Mer du Sud, contenant des remarques nouvelles… mais aussy sur les principaux pays de l’Amerique… avec les noms & la route des voyageurs par qui la decouverte en a ete faite.” It was part of Henri Abraham Chatelain’s Atlas Historique. The work was published by the author in Amsterdam between 1718 and 1720.
“One of the most elaborately engraved maps of the western hemisphere ever produced.” (Schwartz & Ehrenberg, p.142; pl.85)
The map was completed by Henri Chatelain with strong influence from Guillaume de l’Isle’s work. This is a large engraved map of the Pacific and Americas originally presented on four sheets. This has been joined and reinforced with papier japon.
It detailed the Americas and trade and travel routes on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The map shows Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, Labrador, the Great Lakes, Colonial United States, California [as an island, though he was one of the first to notate that it could be attached to continental North America], New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, New York, Carolina, Mexico, West Indies and Caribbean Islands, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, parts of Asia [China, Japan, Philippines], Australia, and parts of Europe and Africa.
The title is set above the upper margin, each pair of sheets with graticuled border, the oceans marked with the tracks of the great Portuguese and Dutch navigators, Le Maire and Schouten, Magellan, Olivier van Noort and L’Hermite, lower and upper margins decorated with inset vignettes, plans of harbours and cities, portraits and explanatory texts. The lavish decoration, extensive texts and high quality engraving, together with the encyclopaedic texts, create an impressive image of the Pacific Ocean.
Numerous insets and vignettes are present in the borders. They include scenes of European explorers, Niagara Falls, hunting, mills, mines, a Mexican Temple, human sacrific ritual, and more. Chatelain also included medallions recognizing explorers important to the discovery of America including: Christophe Colomb (Christopher Columbus), Amerique Vespuce (Amerique Vespucci), Olivier de Nord, Guillaume Dampierre, Magellan Portugais (Ferdinand Magellan), Jacques l’Hermite, François Darc, Guillaume Schouten (Willem Cornelisz Schouten), and Robert Cavelier de la Salle de Rouen (René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle).
Henri Abraham Chatelain (1684-1743) was a Huguenot or protestant pastor originally from Paris. He was the son of a wealthy Parisian merchant who brought the Spanish use of gold and silver stitching to Paris. He would become best known as a Dutch cartographer and his publication and of Atlas Historique which included numerous maps and engravings depicting geography, history, ethnology, heraldry, and cosmography.