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).
Karte von den Küsten des Französischen Florida
This unusual small map (5 11/16" X 8") is often given for having been issued originaly in the “Histoire Générale” or the “Petit Atlas Maritime”.
It appears to have been included in the 1744 François Xavier Charlevoix “Histoire et Description Générale de la Floride Française”, of which a German translation was published around 1756.
It shows the US east coast from Cape Fear to St Augustine.
Notice the misplacement of Jamestown (next to Charlestown?).
The most remarkable details are of course the mention on Charles Fort (established in 1562 by Captain Jean Riboult on Parris Island, and abandoned within the year), and the position of Fort Caroline at the mouth of a River (here erroneously called San Mateo River instead of the correct Rivière de Mai: St John River) established by René de la Londonière in 1564 and destroyed by the Spaniards the year after.
No text on verso.