By: Nicolas Sanson
Date: 1699 (Published) Utrecht
Dimensions: 7.5 x 11 inches (19 cm x 28 cm)
This attractive antique hand-colored map features the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa, and a portion of the coast of western Africa including Muritaniya, Cape Verde, Gambia, and Senegal.
Sanson clearly delineates the vast river systems of western Africa, their estuaries, confluences, and their drainage systems in general. The amount of water flowing into the Atlantic from this part of Africa is substantial. For example, the Senegal River rises in the mountains of Guinea, flows through Mauritania and the country of Senegal before spilling into the Atlantic Ocean at Saint-Louis. Hydroelectricity and agriculture are the primary economic contributions made to the region by the 1,700 mile-long river, which is the second longest in west Africa. In the past, fishing was a major industry in the Senegal Basin, but overfishing and urban development have contributed to significant drops in annual catches of the region.
The islands depicted include Isle de S. Antonio, Isle de S. Vicente, Isle de Sa Lucia, Isle de S. Nicolao, Isle do Sal, Isle de Bona Vista Isle de S. Iago, Isle de Mayo and Isle del Fuego, all part of a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic just off the west coast of Africa. Originally found by the Portuguese during the Age of Discovery, the islands’ primary economic activity in the modern era is tourism. When Portuguese mariners discovered Cape Verde in 1456, the islands were uninhabited but fertile enough to attract the first group of settlers six years later. They founded Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha), the first European town in the tropics, on the island São Vicente. Nicolas Sanson was geographer to the King Louis XIII of France, and is often called 'the father of French cartography.'
The Dutch school had dominated mapmaking in preceding ages, an era of fabulous decoration and coloring of maps by such well-known cartographers as Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu and Hondius. Their lead was taken over by the French in the mid-seventeenth century, when Nicolas Sanson was publishing his maps. The French school is known for pioneering the scientific method of cartography, with a shift in emphasis to representing only that data which could reliably be verified as accurate, and depicted with clear and precise simplicity.
In addition to publishing maps contemporary to his time, Sanson was also interested in the ancient world, as were many scholars and other well-educated Europeans at that time. Sanson took the most reliable information available regarding countries, cities and peoples of the distant past and superimposed it on his modern rendering of countries and continents, resulting in historically significant and beautiful maps which were highly sought after and prized.
Condition: This map is in A condition with light even toning.
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