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Fine map of the Indian Ocean, from Australia and Borneo to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, published in Paris by Nicolas Bellin.

This is the second edition of Bellin's map, significantly revised from the first edition of 1740: /gallery/detail/37822

The map has the following significant revisions:

  • Decorative cartouche added.
  • The chart extends a bit further to the east and west, encompassing the Philippines and some of the west coast of South Africa.
  • The East Coast of Africa is significantly refined.
  • The shape of Madagascar has been significantly altered.
  • The shape of the Gujarat Peninsula is greatly improved.
  • The mouth of the Ganges River and Bay of Bengal is significantly revised
  • The Malaysian Peninsula is much narrower and the coastline reworked
  • Significant revisions are shown in Australia and far greater coverage.

Western Australia is shown, with seven place names, including "Baye des Chiens marins vue par Dampier en 1691" and "Coste veue par Mr. Duquesne en 1687".

This chart was produced by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772), France's preeminent maritime cartographer and the Premier Ingénieur of the Depot de la Marine (the French Hydrographical Office), as well as the Official Hydrographer of the King Louis XV, appearing in volume 2 of Bellin's Bellin's Hydrographie Francoise, one of the most important compilations of Sea Charts published in the 18th Century.

Norwich, O.I. #280.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin Biography

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.