Rare Harbor Charts of Florida, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica & Puerto Rico
Rare set of harbor charts, drawn from Henry Popple's 20-sheet map of the British Colonies in North America. This contains one of the earliest obtainable charts of the island of New Providence and the eventual port of Nassau in the Bahamas. Kingston Harbor, Antigua, and Port Antonio (with an inset map showing the fort) are the other British possessions are also shown. The Spanish possessions shown include La Havana, San Ignacio (Cuba), and St. Augustine (Florida).
While the maker of this map is not formally identified, we infer from the initials (PB), the date of the map, the privilege, and the address on the map "Quay de la Megisserie au St. Espirit pres le Pont Neuf," that the maker must be Philippe Buache. He credits the design for this map on the inset charts which appear on the right side of Popple's Map of the British Empire in North America. Buache has evidently sought to make use of the Popple charts for a French audience, translating the English text, enlarging the maps to make them more useful for navigation, and adding a French mileage scale. In the 1741 edition of these maps, however, Buache notes that Popple, when mapping non-British areas, seems to have mainly recycled work from French or Spanish cartographers.
This is one of the earliest obtainable maps to incorporate the views from Popple's map.
Philippe Buache (1700-1773) was one of the most famous French geographers of the eighteenth century. Buache was married to the daughter of the eminent Guillaume Delisle and worked with his father-in-law, carrying on the business after Guillaume died. Buache gained the title geographe du roi in 1729 and was elected to the Academie des Sciences in the same year. Buache was a pioneering theoretical geographer, especially as regards contour lines and watersheds. He is best known for his works such as Considérations géographiques et physiques sur les découvertes nouvelles dans la grande mer (Paris, 1754).