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, often 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,
Rigobert Bonne. 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
* 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"
Carte hydrographique de la baye
de La Havane..
This large and rare city map (22 1/8' X 16 1/16") was produced
by Bellin for his "Hydrographie Françoise", a two volume work
published between 1756 & 1765.
The present item is not dated, but is probably from the 1762
edition. It offers an extraordinary level of details concerning
the defenses of the town, notice in particular the name of
each of the ten bastions along the city wall, with their respective
Also notice the three insets showing respectively the three
main forts defending the entrance to the harbor. At the foot
of the Moro castle: a battery of twelve massive guns: the
In the upper part, a hill is shown east of the Moro as high
ground commanding the fort.. a strategic position that was
not defended by the Spaniards. It was promptly occupied by
the invading English in 1762, permitting the siege and capture
of the town. The depth of the anchorage in given in feet at
low tide, with corrections for high tides according to moon
No text on verso.