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).
Carte des havres de Kingstown et de Port royal.
This relatively large map (11 ¾" X 7 11/16") was produced
for the 1764 "Petit Atlas Maritime".
Very minimalist, it shows the Kingston bay area with Port
Royal as it stood before 1692, and Kingstown as it became
The Jamaica capital of Port Royal established in 1655, had
suffered a major quake in 1692 (reducing the long peninsula
to a small islet at its very tip), then a destructive fire
in 1703 and was finally abandoned after the coup de grace
hurricane of 1722. Its residents, fleeing the increasingly
inhabitable town thru the whole period, moved mostly across
the bay to Kingstown.
Kingstown became the key harbor for the british in the Caribbean,
and its anchorage was heavily defended (notice forts and gun
emplacements on the shoreline; and the old Port Royal's Fort
Charles which remained operational well into the eighteen
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