Joseph de Laporte, 1713-1779.
Very little is known about this highly educated ecclesiastic,
if not for his history and geography publications (mostly
posthumous), among which a small format atlas in which he
depicted the latest political divisions of the continents
and of major countries (the 1781 "Atlas moderne portatif").
Of note also his "Collection de cartes" issued in 1787.
L'Amerique meridionale, divisee en ses principaux etats.
This small map (8½"X 7") was published as part of the 1781
"Atlas moderne portatif", which found continued acceptance
in the public till its last issue in 1806.
It shows that in those days, the entire south american continent
was divided into only seven major administrative units:
- Brazil, still contained by the 1494 Tordesillas line running
roughly from the mouth of the Amazon river to the mouth of
the Plate river.
- Terra Firma, made of present days Panama, Colombia, Venezuela,
and the Guyanas.
- Peru, regrouping today's Ecuador, Peru, and large parts
of Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
- Chile, a small part of the Chile we know today.
- Paraguay: made of Paraguay, and pieces of Uruguay, Brazil,
Argentina and Chile.
And two large tracks of land with clearly little interest
for the colonial powers:
- Amazons; i.e: the vast Amazon river basin.
- Magellanic lands, or the most southern part of the continent.
Of note; towns that have lost a lot of luster since the XVIII
century, for instance:
Potosi (then the world largest silver mine) and its port:
Arica (or Ariqua),
Paita (or Payta): port for the cinchona tree bark (then only
known source of quinine),
Porto Bello: where the Panama mule train was loaded on ships
bound for La Havana.
Notice that, as was still customary at that time, the longitudes
are given East with reference to Ferro island (westernmost
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