Carte de la Barbarie le la Nigritie et de la Guinée

  • Translation

Article ID AF094


Carte de la Barbarie le la Nigritie et de la Guinée


Map shows the western coast of Africa.


ca. 1720


L´Isle, de /Covens & Mortier (1675-1726)

Guillaume De L´isle (1675- 1726) Paris, was a French cartographer known for his popular and accurate maps of Europe and the newly explored Americas and Africa. De L´isle was admitted into the French Académie Royale des Sciences, an institution financed by the French state. After that date, he signed his maps with the title of “Géographe de l’Académie”. Five years later, he moved to the Quai de l’Horloge in Paris, a true publishing hub where his business prospered. De L´isle’s ascension through the ranks culminated in 1718 when he received the title of Premier Géographe du Roi. His new office consisted in teaching geography to the Dauphin, King Louis XIV’s son, a task for which he received a salary. De L´sle’s reputation as a man of science probably helped .This supports the claim of the historian Mary Sponberg Pedley, who says “once authority was established, a geographer’s name might retain enough value to support two or three generations of mapmakers”. In De L´isle’s case, it could be said that his accomplishments surpassed his father’s. Up to that point, he had drawn maps not only of European countries, such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, and regions such as the Duchy of Burgundy, but he had also contributed to the empire’s claims to recently explored continents of Africa and the Americas. Like many cartographers of these days, De L´isle did not travel with the explorers and elaborated the maps mostly in his office. The quality of his maps depended on a solid network that would provide him first-hand information. Given the family’s reputation and his own, De L´isle had access to fairly recent accounts of travellers who were coming back from the New World, which gave him an advantage over his competitors. Being a member of the Académie, he was also aware of recent discoveries, especially in astronomy and measurement. When he could not confirm the accuracy of his source, he would indicate it clearly on his maps. For instance, his Carte de la Louisiane shows a river that the baron of Lahontan claimed he discovered, but no one else could validate it, so Delisle warned the viewer that its actual existence was in doubt. De L´isle 's search for exactitude and intellectual honesty entangled him in a legal dispute in 1700 with Jean-Baptiste Nolin, a fellow cartographer. Noticing Nolin had used details that were considered original from his Map of the World, De L´isle dragged Nolin in court to prove his plagiarism. In the end, Delisle managed to convince the jury of scientists that Nolin only knew the old methods of cartography and therefore that he had stolen the information from his manuscript. Nolin's maps were confiscated and he was forced to pay the court costs.The scientificity of the work produced by the De L´isle family contrasted with the workshop of Sanson. While Sanson knowingly published outdated facts and mistakes, De L´isle strived to present up-to-date knowledge.

Historical Description

Before the arrival of the Europeans, there were important empires in West Africa, such as Ghana, Mali and Songhai. Beginning in the 15th century, the British, Brandenburgers, Danes, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedes built forts and factories along the coast, primarily to handle the lucrative slave trade with North America. West Africa long had the reputation of being the "white man's grave." In the 18th century, 25% to 75% of newly arrived Europeans died within the first year of arrival from tropical diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and sleeping sickness. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, colonial divisions were cemented. By 1900, West Africa included the extensive colonial territories of British, German, and French West Africa.A wave of independence occurred around 1960, during which numerous West African states became sovereign.The greater region covers much of the African continent, incorporating parts of the Sahara in the north and extending from the coastal regions of the Atlantic to the highlands of Adamaua and Mount Cameroon in the south. In general, West Africa includes the western part of the Greater Sahel and Sudan and the tropical rainforests of the Upper Guinea Threshold.

Place of Publication Paris
Dimensions (cm)50 x 48 cm
ConditionLeft and right lower corners replaced
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueCopper print


58.50 €

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