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Fantastic separately issued engraved map of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, prepared by the Parisian mapmaker Esnauts and Rapilly in 1783.

The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence.

Esnauts and Rapilly are well known for their scarce maps of the American Revolution, however, they didn't only produce maps of the American Theater. The present map is an example of their fine engraving; the cartouche at the upper left of the map echoes the different aspects for the siege, with a large sail forming the backdrop of the title and anchors and siege implements in the foreground.

According to the title, the map is derived from the drawings of the Chief Engineer of the French Army.

Although the map makes it look as though the combined forces were absolutely crushing the British, the Siege was unsuccessful in the end.

The Great Siege of Gibraltar

Wikipedia gives the following summary of the Siege:

The British garrison under George Augustus Eliott were blockaded from June 1779 to February 1783, initially by the Spanish alone, led by Martín Álvarez de Sotomayor. The blockade failed because two relief convoys entered unmolested—the first under Admiral George Rodney in 1780 and the second under Admiral George Darby in 1781—despite the presence of the Spanish fleets. The same year, a major assault was planned by the Spanish, but the Gibraltar garrison sortied in November and destroyed much of the forward batteries. With the siege going nowhere and constant Spanish failures, the besiegers were reinforced by French forces under de Crillon, who took over command in early 1782. After a lull in the siege, during which the allied force gathered more guns, ships and troops, a "Grand Assault" was launched on 18 September 1782. This involved huge numbers—60,000 men, 49 ships of the line and ten specially designed, newly invented floating batteries—against the 5,000 defenders. The assault was a disastrous failure, resulting in heavy losses for the Bourbon allies.

The siege then settled down again to more of a blockade, but the final defeat for the allies came when a crucial British relief convoy under Admiral Richard Howe slipped through the blockading fleet and arrived at the garrison in October 1782. The siege was finally lifted on 7 February 1783 and was a decisive victory for the British forces, being a vital factor in the Peace of Paris, which had been negotiated towards the end of the siege.

This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the "Grand Assault". At three years and seven months, it is the longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces and one of the longest sieges in history.

Condition Description
Original wash hand-color. Eight small rust spots with associated holes where the map was previously tacked to a surface.