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Description

The First Russian Map of the Americas.

Extremely rare Russian map of the Americas, published by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1757.

The map is one of a set of 5 maps of the World and Continents, printed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the first such maps of their kind printed in Russia.

A note from the Russian State Library concludes:

На карте дано относительно насесненное изображение внутренних территорий континента, подробно показана густая гидрграфическая сет, однако северо-западная оконечность Северной Америки все еще является белым пятном на карте.

Translation:  The map shows a relatively unambiguous image of the interior of the continent, with the hydrography shown in detail, but the northwestern tip of North America is still a blank spot on the map.

The map is drawn from Guillaume Delisle's map of the Americas from 1722. Changes have been made around Hudson's Bay, but interestingly, none of the new Russian information about the Pacific Northwest is reported. 

The map was published during a fraught period in Russian cartography. After Joseph Nicholas Delisle had left the country for Paris in 1747, the Academy of Sciences struggled to respond to his loss and the loss of proprietary cartography that he had taken with him.

Rarity

Russian maps from the 18th century are exceptionally rare. Unlike in France and Great Britain, the Russian map publishing industry existed as an arm of the state solely to supply information to select members of the aristocracy and state-related institutions. There was no publication of serious cartographic information for mass consumption. Furthermore, Russian geographic knowledge was a closely-held state secret, and its dissemination outside of the empire was a criminal offense. Thus Russian maps were rare when published, and, after the upheavals of the 20th century, they are still-rarer today. 

We cannot find any examples of this map having been offered on the market before, nor were we able to locate any surviving institutional examples of the map in Western Libraries.

Condition Description
Old outline color recently retouched. Cleaned. Margins extended.