Finely engraved map of the remote region of south-coastal Burma. This map appeared in Jacques Nicolas Bellin's Le Petit Atlas Maritime Recueti de Cartes et Plans des Quatre Parties du Monde en Cinq Volumes, first published in Paris in 1764.
The Mergui archipelago lies off the western coast of the Malay Peninsula. These little-colonized islands served as refuges for pirates until they were colonized by the British in the early 19th century. They remain populated with wild animals uncommon on the mainland today. Onshore, the cities of "Mergui" and "Tavay" that appear on the map correspond to the present-day cities of Myeik and Dawei.
Bellin's Atlas was a delightful small-sized pilot, showing many places of interest around the world.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was among the most important mapmakers of the eighteenth century. In 1721, at only the age of 18, he was appointed Hydrographer to the French Navy. In August 1741, he became the first Ingénieur de la Marine of the Dépôt 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 Dépôt was the one of the most active centers for the production of sea charts and maps in Europe. Their output included a folio-format sea atlas of France, the Neptune Francois. He also produced a number of sea atlases of the world, including the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These gained fame and distinction all over Europe and were republished throughout the eighteenth and even in the nineteenth century.
Bellin also produced smaller format maps such as the 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime, containing 580 finely-detailed charts. He also contributed a number of maps for the 15-volume Histoire Generale des Voyages of Antoine François Prévost.
Bellin set a very high standard of workmanship and accuracy, cementing France's leading role in European cartography and geography during this period. Many of his maps were copied by other mapmakers across the continent.