Striking battle plan of Gibraltar, showing the positions of the English and Spanish forces during the battles of 1781 and 1782.
Faden's map of the battle at Gibraltar is a remarkable bit of engraving, including tremendous military detail based upon on the spot accounts of the battle with the topographical detail of the best available contemporary surveys of the region.
Among the more colorful annotations and illustrations are the battering ships, fire ships and the position of the enemies' combined fleet. The map shows anchorages, soundings, battle lines, encampments, roads, towns, and a host of other details, in remarkable clarity.
The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the Grand Assault of September 18, 1782. It was the longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces, as well as being one of the longest continuous sieges in history.
This is the second edition of the map, which was originally engraved by Faden in 1781 and lacked all of the battle information.
William Faden (1749-1836) was a prominent London mapmaker and publisher. He worked in close partnership with the prolific Thomas Jeffreys from 1773 to 1776. In 1783, Faden assumed ownership of the Jeffreys firm and was named Geographer to the King in the same year. Faden specialized in depictions of North America and also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts. After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice.