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Victor Levasseur: Colonies Francais

Map: WIND3599
Cartographer: Victor Levasseur
Title: Colonies Francais
Date: 1847
Published: Paris
Width: 12 inches / 31 cm
Height: 17 inches / 44 cm
Map ref: WIND3599
Decorative map of the Caribbean island of Martinique, a region included in French territory. The map marks major towns, cities, harbours and bays, topography and using outline colour, details roads and administrative divisions on the island. This map originates from one of the last great decorative atlases of the 19th Century.

The image of the map is presented as if on a large banner within an idyllic scene of tropical plants and tradable commodities such as tobacco, gold coins and a sack of cotton. To the left, a small panel of text titled “Statistique” describing the environment, weather patterns and a brief history of the island. Notable events, for example the earthquake of January 1839 and the destruction of Fort Royal, are mentioned. Also mentioned the precious commodities the island produces, such as sugar, tobacco, indigo, cotton and coffee, as well as a huge variety of fruit. A final note in the description states that the island is ‘honored’ to have given birth to Empress Joséphine de Beauharnnais (1763-1814), who was Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife and the first French Empress between 1804-1810. A bust of Joséphine sits atop a column to the right of the map. And home of French 18th Century botanist Jean Baptiste Mathieu Thibault de Chanvalon (1723-1788), who in 1763 published a study titled “Voyage a la Martinique” which is said to have provided a wonderfully detailed description of the American people.

Engraved by Raymond Bonheur (1796-1849) for the “Universal Illustrated Atlas”. Coloured. [WIND3599]