By: Jacques Nicolas Bellin
Date: 1753 (published) Paris
Dimensions: 8 x 13.75 inches (23.25 x 35 cm)
This elegant map of the Straits of Magellan by Bellin details the Straits to the extent that the area was known at the time. It was based on cartographic reports of exploratory voyages to the region made in 1701 and 1730. The map illustrates in some detail the 350 miles of nearly unnavigable straits located at the very southernmost point of South America, with the area covered reaching from Cap des Vierges in the east to Cap de la Victoire at the west side of the straits.
Bellin identifies a number of islands and capes and adds details to Patagonia not seen in earlier maps of the region, which would have been useful for navigation. Rhumb lines radiate from a point in the lower left and one in the upper right. The unusual combination of islands, bays and channels, of high winds and strong currents were a nightmare for navigators and sailors who found it necessary to pass through the area. Many ships and lives have been lost to the Straits.
The first known passage through the area by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 took 38 days to complete, with much time spent scouting for alternative routes through the labyrinthine maze. The next known successful passage was accomplished in 1525 by a Spanish expedition. led by Spanish aristocrat Garcia Jofre de Loaísa. This passage required four and a half months. As a result, on his return to Spain the organizer advised the Spanish monarchy that further attempts to use the straits should not be considered, following which most Spanish expeditions in the Pacific originated in Spanish ports on the west coast of Central and South America.
Condition: Map is in A condition with a sharp impression on sturdy paper that has some light toning around the outside margins, well away from the map image.
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