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One of the Earliest Appearances of Katara on a Printed Map of the 18th Century

Fine example of Bellin's fine map of the Arabian Peninsula, which includes and early reference to Katara, the modern state of Qatar.

Includes an elaborate cartouche and detailed charting of the coastline of the Arabian Peninsula, Red Sea, Straits of Ormuz, etc. The Red Sea is alternatively named "Mer Rouge ou Golf d'Arabie."

The map shows Al Katif, I. Bahrayn (Bahrain), Katara (Qatar), and the "Perl Bank". Julfar is named (Ras Al Khaimah), but curiously mislocated to the south.  The reference to Katara is of note. 

While Katara or Catara had appeared on Ptolemaic maps dating the the 15th Century and before, the name was typically associated with the ancient usage of Ptolemy.  Here, it appears on a modern map which is no longer intended to show ancient placenames. 


The name Katara or Catara is the earliest recorded name for the area around the modern state of Qatar.

The name "Catara" began appearing as a name for the Qatar Peninsula in geographic and historical maps in about 150 A.D by the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus in 150 AD.  The name also appeared in the Atlas of the History of Islam.  The town appeared northwest of Gerra or near it, and to the west of the town of Cadara. 

The use of the name Catara or Katara was largely abandoned until the 18th Century, when it began to re-appear on printed maps. 

Tibbetts, G.R. #269, illus.#21.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin Biography

Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was among the most important mapmakers of the eighteenth century. In 1721, at age 18, he was appointed hydrographer (chief cartographer) to the French Navy. In August 1741, he became the first Ingénieur de la Marine of the Depot des cartes et plans de la Marine (the French Hydrographic Office) and was named Official Hydrographer of the French King.

During his term as Official Hydrographer, the Depot was the single most active center for the production of sea charts and maps, including a large folio format sea-chart of France, the Neptune Francois. He also produced a number of sea-atlases of the world, e.g., the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These gained fame, distinction, and respect all over Europe and were republished throughout the 18th and even in the succeeding century.

Bellin also came out with smaller format maps such as the 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime, containing 580 finely detailed charts. He also contributed many of the maps for Bellin and contributed a number of maps to the 15-volume Histoire Generale des Voyages of Antoine François Prévost or simply known l'Abbe Prevost.

Bellin set a very high standard of workmanship and accuracy, thus gaining for France a leading role in European cartography and geography. Many of his maps were copied by other mapmakers of Europe.