By: Henri Abraham Chatelain
Date: 1715 (Published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 14.75 x 19 inches (37.5 cm x 48.3 cm)
This authentic antique engraving is from Chatelain’s Atlas Historique, published by him in a number of editions over the years. This work depicts the Island of St. Christopher (named after Christopher Columbus), also known as St. Kitts and the Province of Bemarin in the Antilles. The print features local sites and native fauna.
In the upper left quadrant we find the magnificent Governor-General’s palace – surrounded by walls and resplendent with formal French gardens. The upper center panel portrays the natives welcoming the French and preparing a feast. The upper right quadrant depicts Melilot, which was the mythical capital of Apalache. Chatelain was inspired by the work of de Rochefort’s which was published in 1658, and here depicts a lush countryside with mountains in the background, and a fortified citadel on a hilltop which is reached by a winding footpath upon which can be seen numerous people coming and going. Purportedly, the Apalache had a utopian kingdom in Georgia and Florida whose peoples were the ancestors of the Caribbean peoples. Melilot was not found in North America and thus Chatelain took the liberty of placing it in the Antilles.
The fauna featured are strikingly well detailed. The lower left panel includes lizards large and small, and fish of differing kinds and sizes. The midsection shows sea turtles and many beautiful birds of different kinds. The lower right panel features insects and some sea creatures which are found in the locale. Chatelain names all featured fauna and provides detailed information regarding the scenes depicted.
Condition: This map is in B with a centerfold separation extending into the image which has been repaired with archival material on the verso. There is minor foxing and uneven toning.