One of the earliest obtainable maps of New York Harbor, from Bellin's Le Petit Atlas Maritime.
The map shows Manhattan, Staten Island, western Long Island with the city of Gravesend, now a district of Brooklyn, as well as the cities of Neversink (Navesink), Ambois (Perth Amboy), Woodbridge, Elizabeth , Middletown and Newark.
The plan is taken from the Petit Atlas maritime, one of the most interesting and complete atlases of the eighteenth century, based on documents from the Depot des Cartes de la Marine. Announced in the Journal de Trévoux in January 1765, it was published thanks to the contribution of the Duke of Choiseul who covered a large part of the expenses.
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.