Nicolas Sanson (aka: Sanson d'Abbeville); 1600-1667.
Nicolas Sanson, son; 1626-1648.
Guillaume Sanson, son; c1630-1703.
Adrien Sanson, son; c1630-1708.
Pierre Moulard Sanson, grand son; c1660-1730.
Born of an old Picardy house of Scot descent, Sanson was
educated by the Jesuits of Amiens.
A trained historian, Sanson branched into cartography to better
illustrate his tutorial works.
Attracting the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, he was soon
appointed "Géographe Ordinaire du Roi". He was actually educating
Louis XIII of France (and then Louis XIV), in the related
He is most well known for his 1654 major atlas "Cartes générales
de toutes les parties du monde", with several re-editions
(the last one in 1676 was named "Cartes générales de la géographie
anciennes et nouvelles").
But his call to fame comes from the preparation of a few maps
which proved to be seminal, and influenced generally accepted
continent delineations for many decades to come.
Among others: "Amérique septentrionale" in 1650 noted for
the "island" California, "le Canada ou nouvelle France" noted
for its first accurate representation of the great lakes,
and "Le Brésil dont la coste." (both in 1656).
Upon his death, his successors ran a continued successful
business, in particular thanks to their excellent partnership
with Pierre Duval (his son-in-law), and Alexis Hubert Jaillot.
Both men re-engraved a lot of his plates, and prepared the
unfinished maps he did not have the opportunity to print.
The Sanson dynasty is often credited for planting the seeds
of the golden age of French cartography in competition with
the Dutch school.
Le Bresil, dont la coste est possedée par les portugais
et divisée en quatorze capitanieries.
This large map (21 3/8" X 15 ½") showing in detail the fourteen
captainships of Brazil, was so influential in its days that
it remained the cartographic reference for over a century
(it is known to have been printed till 1798).
All indications are that it was prepared for the 1658 edition
of "Cartes Générales".
The printing date of the present item is not known, but the
fact that the engraver limited his mark to J Somer* points
to an early edition.
The map shows the Portuguese colonial administration, based
on the hereditary system of regional captainships (Para, Maragnan,
Siara, Rio Grande, Paraiba, Tamaraca, Pernambuco, Seregipe,
Bahia, Isleos, Porto Seguro, Spiritu Santo, Rio de Janeiro,
Santo Vincente); all east of the line of the 1494 Treaty of
Tordesillas line (when pope Alexander VI allocated to Portugal
all new lands discovered east of a line located 370 leagues
west of the Cabo Verde islands).
The fifteenth area: the Amazon basin is left pretty much devoid
Notice that the longitudes are given east of the Ferro Island,
as it was customary at Sanson's time. Also notice the fabled
lake Parime (top left), where the mythical El Dorado was located.
No text on verso.
*see bottom right: the engraver will soon show his full name:Jean