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, Rigobert Bonne.
His career was
mainly devoted to charting and mapping coast lines, harbors,
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"
was incorporated in volume 25 in 1779).
Coste du nord est de l'isle de Juan Fernandez.
This map (11"X7
5/8"), derived from an Anson original, was probably included
in the 1764 "Petit Atlas Maritime".
It is rather unusual in its showing both the normal delineation,
and also the elevation view for the pilot approaching the
The three island
archipelago, off the Chili coast at the latitude of Santiago,
is of little interest. Safe for the fact that it was used
time and again by seafarers to rest, repair and victual after
the harrowing passage through the straight of Magellan, or
the rounding of cape Horn. Through the years, mariners had
been careful to stock the uninhabited islands with live game
and goats, which multiplied for lack of predators.
Francis Drake probably stopped there in 1577 after having
escaped death at the hands of the Chili coast natives. So
may have Thomas Cavendish a few years later.
It is known that the fleet under Jacques l'Hermite, regrouped
on the main island before pursuing the Spanish galleons at
Arica and Callao.
As written in the cartouche, admiral George Anson also stopped
at Juan Fernandez during his 1741 circumnavigation.
But, the islands will stay forever famous for having harbored
the quintessential castaway: Alexander Selkirk, who served
as the model for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
No text on verso.