Finely detailed map of the area around Vadivia, from Volume 7 of the Neptune Francois.
Finely detailed sea chart covering the entrance to Corral Bay and the Valdivia estuary, situated to the southwest of the city of Valdivia, Chile. The map illustrated Mancera Island ("Ile Mansera"), Fort Niebla, Fort St. Carlos, Fort d'Amargos, and St Jean Bay. Includes profile views of the coastline at the entrance to Valdivia River.
The sea chart is drawn from surveys in 1822 by Lieutenant Lartigue and Ensign Flury aboard frigate la Clorinde, commissioned by Baron Mackau.
Volume 7 of Neptune Francois (volume title Neptune des cotes occidentales d'Amerique sur le Grand Ocean.) forms an extensive atlas of charts of the western coasts of North and South America, with most charts dated or updated to the 1820's.
The Dépôt de la Marine, known more formally as the Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine, was the central charting institution of France. The centralization of hydrography in France began in earnest when Jean-Baptiste Colbert became First Minister of France in 1661. Under his watch, the first Royal School of Hydrography began operating, as did the first survey of France’s coasts (1670-1689). In 1680, Colbert consolidated various collections of charts and memoirs into a single assemblage, forming the core of sources for what would become the Dépôt.
The Dépôt itself began as the central deposit of charts for the French Navy. In 1720, the Navy consolidated its collection with those government materials covering the colonies, creating a single large repository of navigation. By 1737, the Dépôt was creating its own original charts and, from 1750, they participated in scientific expeditions to determine the accurate calculation of longitude.
In 1773, the Dépôt received a monopoly over the composition, production, and distribution of navigational materials, solidifying their place as the main producer of geographic knowledge in France. Dépôt-approved charts were distributed to official warehouses in port cities and sold by authorized merchants. The charts were of the highest quality, as many of France’s premier mapmakers worked at the Dépôt in the eighteenth century, including Philippe Bauche, Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Rigobert Bonne, Jean Nicolas Buache, and Charles-François Beautemps-Beaupré.
The Dépôt continued to operate until 1886, when it became the Naval Hydrographic Service. In 1971, it changed names again, this time to the Naval and Oceanographic Service (SHOM). Although its name has changed, its purpose is largely the same, to provide high quality cartographic and scientific information to the France’s Navy and merchant marine.