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The Earliest Obtainable Plan of New York.

This map of the Fortress of New York was prepared by Bellin based upon an inset on Jean Baptiste-Louis Franquelin's map of 1693, which was originally prepared when France and England were at war and New Yorkers feared attack by the French.

It is believed that the map derived from a French Privateer named John Reaux, who is known to have become a naturalized citizen of New York in 1692.

The map shows a heavily fortified city and fort at the confluence of the Hudson and North Rivers.

While there are several earlier maps of New York City which were produced in New York, they are virtually unobtainable. Augustyn & Cohen remark that this is the earliest plan of New York which is obtainable by collectors (p.50-51).


This is the second state, with "Tome I, No. 33" in the upper-right corner.

Augustyn & Cohen, Manhattan in Maps 1527-1995, pages 50-51.
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.