Scarce regional map, centered on Wilna and showing the regions which were then part of Polish Lithuania. The map, by one of the fathers of French cartography, shows the layout of eastern Europe in attractive detail, with many forests, streams, rivers, roads, cities, and more all shown. "Moscovie" in the northeast indicates the start of Russia, while "Livonie" at the top of the map denotes the southern Latvia.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the time of the publication of this map was beginning a precipitous decline. The Thirty Years' War and the attempted Russian invasion in 1632 had been defeated. However, the Polish Golden Age would end starting in 1648 following an uprising, and the first use of the liberum veto in 1652 would tie the government's hands. The 18th century would see the decline and eventual partition of the once-great empire.
Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.
Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi.
His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.