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Haute Lombardie et Pays circomvoisins, ou sont les Estats de Savoye Piemont, Milan. Genes, Monferrat, by Nicolas Sanson d'Abbeville, the royal geographer, dated 1648, is a meticulous cartographic representation of the northern Italian region extending from Lac de Geneve et de Lausanne to the Magra river. This map is set within the complex political landscape of the 17th century, at a time when the region was a focus of significant interest to the French monarchy.

The reign of Louis XIV of France (1643-1715) marked a period of ambitious French expansionism and consolidation of royal power. The geographical scope of the map, encompassing areas like Savoy and Piedmont, highlights territories that were of strategic importance to France, both as buffer zones against rival powers and as potential areas of expansion. The mapping of these territories by the royal geographer signifies their importance in the grander scheme of French diplomacy and military planning.

Sanson's map reflects the high standards of precision and detail that characterized 17th-century French cartography. The intricate delineation of natural features such as rivers and lakes, along with political boundaries and key cities, represents not merely a geographical exercise but a political statement. During a time when borders were fluid and often contested, maps such as this one were instrumental in asserting territorial claims and understanding the complex geography of potential conflict zones.

Furthermore, the map provides valuable insights into the interconnectedness of European politics and the underlying tensions that would eventually lead to broader conflicts in the subsequent centuries. The complex web of alliances, rivalries, and territorial ambitions that characterized the politics of Hautelombardie and its neighboring regions are subtly encapsulated within Sanson's work.

In conclusion, Haute Lombardie et Pays circomvoisins serves as a vital historical document that transcends its immediate geographical scope. By examining the map in the context of the reign of Louis XIV and the broader political environment of 17th-century Europe, it reveals intricate connections between geography, politics, and the ambitious designs of the French monarchy. It is a testament to the multifaceted role of cartography in the early modern period, serving both as a tool for navigation and a sophisticated instrument of political strategy.

Condition Description
Original hand-color in outline. Cut to the platemark or just inside.
Nicolas Sanson Biography

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.