"Carte de la Californie et des Pays Nord-Ouest separes de l'Asie par le Detroit d'Anian, extraite de deux cartes publiees au commencement du 17e siecle", Robert de Vaugondy, Didier
Subject: Western North America
Period: 1772 (dated)
Publication: Diderot's Encyclopedie (Supplement)
Color: Hand Color
14.3 x 11.5 inches
36.3 x 29.2 cm
When Charles Joseph Panckoucke took over publication of Diderot's Encyclopedie in 1768, he promised to correct the cursory treatment of geography for which the first seventeen volumes had been criticized, with emphasis on the discoveries of the last 25 years. He employed Samuel Engel, a Swiss geographer, to write a series of articles about the northern regions and Didier Robert de Vaugondy to prepare ten maps to illustrate them. Engel rejected the De la Fonte Northwest Passage discoveries and believed the most sensible route from the Atlantic to the Pacific was along the north coast of Siberia. These maps illustrate the discoveries and various cartographic theories concerning the Pacific Northwest, East Asia and the North Pacific Ocean and include some of the most interesting comparative cartography of the eighteenth century
This handsome sheet has two contrasting historical maps, one inset into the other. The inset map is based on a world map by Plancius issued in 1641, while the larger map is based on Visscher's map of 1612. Other than a recognizable Baja California, the maps depict a distorted Pacific coastline and are filled with the cartographic myths of the 17th century. The northwest coast bulges too far to the west. Both maps feature the seven cities of Cevola gathered around a spurious lake in the American Southwest.
References: Wheat (TMW) #159; Wagner (NW) #632; Pedley #473.