By: Jacques Nicolas Bellin
Date: 1764 (circa) Paris
Dimensions: 8 x 11 inches (20.3 x 28 cm)
A fine example of one of the earliest available maps of the city of New Orleans, by Jacques Nicholas Bellin’s, published in 1764. The map depicts the early settlement of New Orleans along the Mississippi River and as far inland as Fosse plein d’eau (near modern-day Dauphine Street). It shows the blocks between Barrack Street (pictured but not shown) and Iberville Street (pictured but not shown). Oriented east, this map is a fine example of early French colonial cartography.
I all, Bellin’s map shows around 100 different buildings, 18 of which being specifically identified in an alphabetized key at the top of the map. Among these are commercial, institutional, and social hubs like churches, the hospital, and the armory. Included is item Q, “Place des Nègres qui prennent soin du Moulin” (Cabins of Negroes who care for the mill). A chilling reminder of the presence of the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th century, these cabins are notably placed away from the rest of the city and are located near the river and the Bourgeois Guardhouse.
Though first printed in 1744 in Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix’s Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France, this 1764 edition features stunning illustrations of the churning waves of the Mississippi River, and is thus prized not only for its rarity and historical significance, but also for its value as an art object.
Condition: This map is in A- condition. A strong impression and wide margins on thick stock. Blank on verso.
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