Brasil, divided into its captainships - #2098


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DATE: 1723

MAP MAKER: Herman Moll

SIZE: 7 ¼" x 6 ¼"

PRICE: $325.00

 

Herman Moll; c1654-1732.

A noted dutch engraver of german descent, Moll emigrated from Holland, and set shop in London around 1680. By the turn of the century, he had achieved prominence in the map publishing business thanks to a tireless production of atlas volumes, geography books, decorative maps and miniature maps, …all of distinguished quality.
He is often credited for being the first mapmaker to use the London meridian as a universal longitude reference.
His “new and exact map of the dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye continent of north America” (also known as the “Beaver map”) first issued in 1715, was a basis for the british to counterclaim the French territorial designs after the spanish succession war (1702-1713).
He was often copied by other publishers (of which he was very conscious). But, as was customary at that time, he also made good use of the works produced by his peers.
Among his noted productions: “Atlas Manuale” in 1709, “Atlas Geographicus” in 1711, “The world described” in 1719-1736, “A new description of England and Wales” in 1724 in collaboration with T&J Bowles, reissued under various titles in 1726, 1728, 1739, 1747, 1753; and the 1727 “Atlas minor”.

Brasil, divided into its captainships

This small (7 ¼” X 6 ¼”) map, probably printed for the 1723 re-issue of the “Atlas Manuale”, is directly derived from the seminal 1656 Sanson’s “Le Bresil dont la coste est possedee par les portugais et divisee en quatorze capitanieries”.
It shows that at that time the portuguese colonial administration was still based on the quasi hereditary system of regional captainships. Fourteen in total (from the north: Para, Maragnan, Siara, Rio Grande, Paraiba, Tamaraca, Pernambuco, Seregipe, Bahia (de todos os santos), Isleos, Porto Seguro, Spiritu Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Santo Vincente); all still contained east of the famed Tordesillas line (re: treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, 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 of features.
Notice that the longitudes are given east of the Ferro island, as it was customary at Sanson’s time.
No text on verso.

* Given the state of the art at that time, there was no way to measure with any degree of precision the actual position of that line. Only after reliable timepieces (the1735 James Harrison “chronometer”) could be embarked, would this be do-able. However, both spaniards and portuguese managed to cope well with the vagueness of the treaty requirement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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