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 a unique 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, 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 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).
Plan de la Baye de Pensacola dans la Floride
This small map
(6 5/8" X 8 3/8") was printed for the 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime (Tome I N° 42). It shows the territories of the inlet of Pensacola in Florida
This is the only known issue of this version of Bellin's map, slightly larger than the common versions existing since 1744.
The narrow strait of Ciguenza (after the name of the Spanish cartographer Carlos de Sigüenza y Gongora who charted it first in or around 1698) is guarded by two forts: Sainte Rose and Saint Charles.
Typically French: notice the location of the oyster beds (Ance aux huîtres, or oyster Cove), oysters for which the French occupiers (1718-1722) were so fond.
Depths shown by soundings in feet.
No text on verso.