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The British Invasion of Guadalupe in 1759

Rare separately published battle plan, showing the British attack on the Pointe-a-Pitre and Bas du Fort area on the south side of Guadalupe Island, during the French & Indian War.

On February 1759, Captain Harman's force attacked Fort Louis on the Grande-Terre side of the island. After four months, the French surrendered the island to the British in May 1759.   

The map notes that the British Naval forces bombarded the French positions at Fort Louis for 5 hours and identifies the 6 primary British Vessels and Captains, with a key noting Bomb Vessels, Bomb Tenders, Bonett Sloop, Army Troop Transports.  The location of the British ships are shown, along with a detailed illustration of the French defenses, Batteries, Cannon, Redoubts etc.

The map is drawn from a manuscript plan by Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Rycaut, a Royal Marine officer who participated in the British invasion of Guadeloupe.  Rycaut would go on to serve as Governor of the British colony of Roatten Island, Honduras, in 1761, before meeting his death in combat in 1763.

The dedication text reads:

To the Right Honourable Edward Boscanuen Admiral of the Blue Squadron of his Majesty's Fleet  General of the Marines One of the Lords Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain & Ireland, and one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council.  this Plan is most Humbly Inscribed By his most Obliged & Obedient Humble Servt. Thos. Jefferys. 

The map was issued both separately (this example is priced 2 shillings at the bottom right) or bound in Jeffreys extremely rare Jeffery's 1768 atlas/map compilation entitled A General Topography of North America and the West Indies, published by Sayer & Jefferys in 1768.

British Conquest of Guadalupe

The British Invasion of Guadeloupe was a significant event in the French & Indian War (Seven Years’ War).  During the 18th Century, Guadeloupe was a highly important French Colony, especially with respect to its Sugar Plantations. 

In late 1758, the British launched a joint naval and army force from Portsmouth, England to invade Martinique and Guadeloupe, led by Major-General Peregrine Hopson.  The naval contingent was commanded by Commodore John Moore, named in the title of this map.  The forces initially attacked Martinique on January 16, 1759, without success, then moved on Guadeloupe.

The British fleet first attacked Basse-Terre on January 22, 1759, by sea and on January 24 the British landed forces, just to the north of Saint-François. The land assault faired poorly in the island's jungle terrain.  Hopson died of illness on February 27, leaving the command to Brigadier John Barrington. By April, the British situation had severely deteriorated, requiring a bold action if they were to prevail.  In April, Commodore Moore began a massive bombardment of Fort-Royal, while Barrington attacked from three sides.  The operation surprised the French, who surrendered Guadeloupe to Britain on May 1, 1759.

The loss was the first significant French loss in the Caribbean, but set off a chain reaction of  British successes that proved a turning point in the war.


The map is quite rare on the market, this being the first example we have ever seen for sale.

Thomas Jefferys Biography

Thomas Jefferys (ca. 1719-1771) was a prolific map publisher, engraver, and cartographer based in London. His father was a cutler, but Jefferys was apprenticed to Emanuel Bowen, a prominent mapmaker and engraver. He was made free of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1744, although two earlier maps bearing his name have been identified. 

Jefferys had several collaborators and partners throughout his career. His first atlas, The Small English Atlas, was published with Thomas Kitchin in 1748-9. Later, he worked with Robert Sayer on A General Topography of North America (1768); Sayer also published posthumous collections with Jefferys' contributions including The American Atlas, The North-American Pilot, and The West-India Atlas

Jefferys was the Geographer to Frederick Prince of Wales and, from 1760, to King George III. Thanks especially to opportunities offered by the Seven Years' War, he is best known today for his maps of North America, and for his central place in the map trade—he not only sold maps commercially, but also imported the latest materials and had ties to several government bodies for whom he produced materials.

Upon his death in 1771, his workshop passed to his partner, William Faden, and his son, Thomas Jr. However, Jefferys had gone bankrupt in 1766 and some of his plates were bought by Robert Sayer (see above). Sayer, who had partnered in the past with Philip Overton (d. 1751), specialized in (re)publishing maps. In 1770, he partnered with John Bennett and many Jefferys maps were republished by the duo.