Finely engraved map of the southern portion of the Philippines, from Jacques Nicolas Bellin's Le Petit Atlas Maritime Recueti de Cartes et Plans des Quatre Parlies du Monde en Cinq Volumes, first published in Paris in 1764.
As noted in the title, the map is based upon the work of Philippine mapmaker Murillo de Velarde, considered the most important mapmaker of the 18th century regarding the cartography of the Philippines.
The map names a number of coastal features, islands, and prominent mountains. Published for navigational purposes, the map shows reefs and areas of shallow seabed. A note in the lower left states that it is imagined that a number of unknown islands populate the southwestern-most region shown, which have yet to be surveyed in detail.
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.