Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 416

Rare Map of Guanabara Bay in Lescarbot's History of French Settlements in America

"Figure du Port de Ganabara au Brisil", Lescarbot, Marc

Subject: Guanabara Bay, Brazil

Period: 1609 (published)

Publication: Histoire de la Nouvelle-France

Color: Black & White

6.7 x 4 inches
17 x 10.2 cm

This rare map was published in Marc Lescarbot's Histoire de la Nouvelle-France, the first published history of the French settlements in America. Lescarbot was a poet and author who accompanied an expedition to Acadia in New France from 1606-07. Upon his return to France, he wrote Histoire de la Nouvelle-France, including information on his voyage as well as those of Jean Ribault to Florida and Durand de Villegaignon and Jean de Lery to Brazil, among others. Four maps were published in the book: New France, Port-Royal (Nova Scotia), Port Ganabara (Brazil), and Florida.

This map depicts Guanabara Bay, with north oriented to the right. In 1555, in an effort to find refuge against persecution for the Huguenots, French vice-admiral Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon led two ships carrying 600 soldiers and colonists to Guanabara Bay. There they founded Fort Coligny on the small island of Serigipe. The French continued to colonize the area, known as La France Antarctique, for 12 years, both on several islands in Guanabara Bay as well as on the mainland, in the location that later became Rio de Janeiro. The Portuguese, who had made a more concerted effort to colonize South America, began to feel threatened by the French colony, and ordered it destroyed. In 1560 the French were defeated by the Portuguese, leaving Guanabara Bay. The French largely gave up their efforts to colonize South America, focusing instead on their influence in North America and the Caribbean.

The map shows settlements on several islands within Guanabara Bay, as well as on the mainland. The map is embellished with three large galleons, several smaller vessels, and two sea monsters. Engraved by Jean Millot.


Condition: B+

A crisp, dark impression with light toning and marginal soiling.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,300

Sold for: $750

Closed on 5/20/2015