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Detailed map of St. Kitts and Nevis, illustrating the naval battle fought in February 1782 between the French and British forces at Basse Terre Town on St. Kitts.

The map provides fine topographical depiction of the two islands, locating parishes, quarters, towns, harbors, roads, etc.

The map shows the engagement between the French Forces led by Francois-Joseph Paul, Comte De Grasse and Admiral Samuel Hood. In January and February 1782, De Grasse conquered St. Kitts. De Grasse's action at St. Kitts was vigorously opposed by Hood, who, with a much inferior force, first drove de Grasse from his anchorage at Basseterre and then repulsed his repeated attacks.

Admiral Hood`s Squadron is shown on the map in a defensive position protecting the towns against the French fleet. St. Kitts was contested between the French, Spanish and English numerous times during the 17th and 18th century, due to the prosperous sugar plantations on the island. This map illustrates the siege that followed the Battle of St Kitts, also known as the Battle of Frigate Bay, during the American Revolutionary War, which eventually resulted in a French victory. The islands were returned to Britain under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.

John Cary Biography

John Cary (1755-1835) was a British cartographer and publisher best known for his clean engraving and distinct style which influenced the entire map industry. Born in Wiltshire, John was apprenticed to an engraver in London. He started his own business by 1782 and moved to several premises before settling at 86 St James’s Street in 1820.

Cary had several significant collaborations during his career. John Wallis and Cary diversified Cary’s business to include broader publishing projects. Brother William and John made globes together, while brother Francis participated in the company’s engraving work. Finally, geologist William Smith and Cary developed and sold geological maps, some of the first of their kind. The pair also produced a notable series of county maps starting in 1819. Cary’s atlases, of English counties and the world, were the standard texts of the early nineteenth century. He was appointed surveyor of roads to the General Post Office in 1794, which led to the New Itinerary, first published in 1798.  

John trained his son, George, in engraving and George and his other son, John Jr., took over the business in 1821. It was then known as G. and J. Cary and continued in trade until 1850. The firm’s materials were then acquired by George Frederick Cruchley and then Gall and Inglis. By the time John died in 1835, Cary was the authoritative name in private map publishing and his business was a leader in the field throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.