Jacques Nicolas Bellin; 1703-1772.
A first rank cartographer, Bellin worked for some fifty
years at the French hydrographic service (Dépôt de la Marine);
which he ran till his death. In this position he had unequal
access to prime cartographic data, which he used to further
his own private business interests. He was succeeded at the
head of the service by the very talented, and no less prolific,
His career was mainly devoted to charting and mapping coast
lines, harbors, sea lanes,. Most of his publications were
related to nautical matters: maps for "Histoire générale des
Voyages"* between 1747 and his death, "Atlas Maritime" in
1751, "Neptune François" in 1753, "Petit Atlas Maritime" in
1764,. for the benefit of the French Navy, merchantmen, and
the public at large.
He is known to have used informations from the best fellow
cartographers of his time, to complement the in-land parts
of his maps, notably: Guillaume de L'Isle and Jean-Baptiste
Bourguignon d'Anville, often giving them credit. Fame, enormous
output and fastidious quality of work, earned him the appointment
of "hydrographer to the king" by Louis XV of France. He was
also a member of the Royal Society in London.
* A major work published by Antoine François Prévost d'Exile.
The first edition in 1747 was already of an encyclopedic size.
A major remodeling was done in the mid fifties, incorporating
some two hundred new maps (quite a few drawn by Bellin). Later
editions, till 1789, incorporated verbatim other authors travel
writings (e.g.: Gmelin's "Voyage au Kamchatka par la Sibérie"
was incorporated in volume 25 in 1779).
Ville de S. Domingue dans l'isle
de ce nom.
This small plan (6 3/8" X 8 9/16") was produced for the 1764
"Petit Atlas Maritime". It shows the town of Santo Domingo,
which is the oldest continuously inhabited colonial settlement
in the Americas. Founded in 1496 by Bartolomeo Colombus, Nueva
Isabela, quickly renamed Santo Domimgo de Guzman, expanded
and moved from the east bank of the Ozama river to its left
bank in 1502.
The upper left inset locates major European "firsts" in the
- B: Santa Maria la Menor (de la Encarnacion) was named first
cathedral of America by pope Paul III in 1542, as such its
Archbishop was Primate of the Indies.
- F: Alcazar de Colon, residence of Diego Colombus (son of
Christopher) while he was viceroy of the colony. Along its
east side, the first american street "Las damas" which passes
in front of:
- G: Palace of the Captain General and courthouse (now the
museum of Casas Reales), and then between:
- N: convent of the Clarists (now Santa Clara College); and:
- A: the castle.
No text on verso.