Nice original antique map of South America, colored by colonial provinces. This map was designed by Nicolas de Fer and published by Pierre du Val at the start of the 18th century.
The map is attractively designed and highly detailed, showing geographical features including cities, rivers, and mountains. The map is unusually subdivided, with southern Argentina and Chile termed "La Magellanique," a strange state between the Rio de Plata and Chile named "Chicuito," and the northern part of the continent termed "Solid Ground."
The text describes the continent (including North America and the Caribbean) in French. It describes how the continent was named by Amerigo Vespucci, rather than Columbus, and how the "West Indies" are so named to distinguish them from the "East Indies."
Nicholas de Fer (1646-1720) was the son of a map seller, Antoine de Fer, and grew to be one of the most well-known mapmakers in France in the seventeenth century. He was apprenticed at twelve years old to Louis Spirinx, an engraver. When his father died in 1673, Nicholas helped his mother run the business until 1687, when he became the sole proprietor.
His earliest known work is a map of the Canal of Languedoc in 1669, while some of his earliest engravings are in the revised edition of Methode pour Apprendre Facilement la Geographie (1685). In 1697, he published his first world atlas. Perhaps his most famous map is his wall map of America, published in 1698, with its celebrated beaver scene (engraved by Hendrick van Loon, designed by Nicolas Guerard). After his death in 1720, the business passed to his sons-in-law, Guillaume Danet and Jacques-Francois Benard.
Pierre Duval (1618-1683) was a French geographer, cartographer, and publisher who worked in Abbeville and Paris during the seventeenth century. He was born in the former city, in northeast France, before moving to Paris. Duval was the nephew of the famous cartographer Nicolas Sanson, from whom he learned the mapmaker's art and skills. Both men worked at the royal court, having followed the royal request for artists to relocate to Paris. In addition to numerous maps and atlases, Du Val's opus also includes geography texts. He held the title of geographe ordinaire du roi from 1650 and died in 1683, when his wife and daughters took over his business.