By: Laurie and Whittle
Date: 1794 (Published) London
Dimensions: 22.75 x 17 inches (58 cm x 43 cm)
This handsome maritime chart of 1794 delineates the southeastern coast of India known as Coromandel Coast. Rhumb lines radiate from five points, including a sixteen-point compass rose in the approximate center of the Bay of Bengal. It covers the Indian coast from Point Gordeware in the north to Calymere in the south, and Point Pedro in Sri Lanka. The map offers place names and a wealth of other information for navigation, including depth soundings, notes on the sea floor, commentary on reefs, rhumb lines, sandbars, shoals, buildings including churches and pagodas.
Rather than depicting inland geophysical features, the map details the coast and devotes the left side to four coastal views which describe the appearance of settlements and topography as if seen from aboard a ship in the Bay itself. Closest to the coast is a range of hills which are depicted as being 4 leagues off shore, and Armegon Mountain is also depicted. The second vignette is a profile view of St. George, and includes the names of a number of architectural edifices, including an obelisk, an Armenian church, a granary, Nabob’s Palace, and governmental buildings. The next vignette was drawn from on board the frigate Ashburnam in 1772 and depicts the Coromandel Coast when sailing from Devicotta to Alamparva. It depicts long stretches of white sand with fruit trees in the background in places. The fourth vignette depicts the settlement of Negapatnam as viewed from the Orford Man of War in 1772.
Noted on the coast is the village of Coringa, where 20,000 people perished in a cyclone which struck just five years before the map was made. River mouths and deltas are delineated. Point Calimere, or Ramarpatham (meaning Rama’s feet in the local language) is identified as the place from which Rama surveyed the demon Ravana’s Kingdom in nearby Sri Lanka. The entire coast was important for regulating Indian trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, with rivalries including the Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, French and British till finally the British took control in 1847.
Condition: This map is in A condition. The engraving is bold and the imprint of the plate surrounds the image.
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