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Number: 3546
Continent: Africa
Region: North
Place Names: Algiers, Algeria
Year of Origin: 1827
Title: Croquis Des Environs D'Alger
Language: French
Publish Origin: Paris
Height: 22.0
Width: 44.0
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Color Type: No Color
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Cartographer: M. A. Auguste Berard
Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul
Engraver: Manuscript
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude: 37.0
Southernmost Latitude: 36.55
Westernmost Longitude: 2.2
Easternmost Longitude: 3.9
Measurement Notes: modern estimates
Notes: [source Dasa Pahor] 2 separate sheets; the original manuscript chart and the first printed version of the first scientific reconnaissance of the coastlines adjacent to Algiers, executed in 1827 by the naval officers Auguste B?ard and Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul; plus, the extremely rare printed version of the same chart published for use during the French Invasion of Algeria in 1830.; #1: Croquis des environs d'Alger Dress?, en 1827, Par M.M. B?ard lieutnt de Vaiss.u et Aubry-Bailleul Enseigne de Vaiss.u; pour server ?fixer les positions des Batimens qui croisent dans ces Parages.? [Off the Coast of Algeria, 1827]. Manuscript, pen and ink and grisaille wash on paper, close-trimmed, contemporarily mounted upon green card bearing manuscript borders and latitude and longitude registers in black pen (Very Good, some old creasing due to the mounting, some discolouration to left side, some short, closed marginal tears to mounting), chart proper: 23 x 43 cm (9 x 17 inches), with mounting: 29 x 49.5 cm (11.5 x 19.5 inches). #2: Croquis des environs d'Alger Dress?, en 1827, Par M.M. B?ard Lieutenant de Vaisseau et Aubry-Bailleul Enseigne de Vaisseau; pour server ?fixer les positions des Batimens qui croisent dans ces Parages. [Paris: Charles Picquet (Pierre-Jacques Picquet) for the D?? g??al de la guerre, 1830]. Lithograph (Very Good, light even toning, old tack marks to upper corners), 34 x 49.5 cm (19.5 13.5 inches). This pair of sea charts represents a rather extraordinary find in that it includes what appears to be the original manuscript ?croquis? (sketch) (map #1), plus the corresponding printed version of the chart (map #2). Importantly, the chart represents the first scientific reconnaissance survey of the coastlines of the Algiers area, conducted by the naval officers Auguste B?ard and Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul in the summer of 1827, during the French naval blockade of Algeria, an event which was brought about by a precipitous deterioration in Franco-Algerian relations. The printed chart, faithful in content to the manuscript, was published in the early month of 1830 on the orders of the D?? g??al de la guerre, the cartography division of the French Army, to act a vital aid to the massive French force that was to successfully invade Algeria in June of that year. The charts embrace the Algerian coastline up to around 80 km on each side of ?Alger? (Algiers), extending as far as ?Sercelle? (Cherchell), in the west, and ?Cap Tedels? (the Tigzirt area), in the east. Due to the tense political conditions under which Auguste B?ard (a highly experienced mariner who had already circumnavigated the world twice!) and Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul carried out the 1827 survey, the chart features only skeletal details, but nevertheless it is the first chart to accurately place the major headlands, harbours and the locations of major landmarks (mountains) beyond the Bay of Algiers, rendering it to be of considerable practical value to a force contemplating a landing near Algiers. Great care was taken to fix the headlands by trigonometrical means, predicated upon astronomical observations; findings underscored by the appearance of the readings of latitude and longitude in the margins, as was well as the compass needle near the centre of the chart which records magnetic declination. The mariners? profile view of the coast, located at the top of each chart (but flipped upside down on the printed version, map #2) adds to the utility of the work. Importantly, the mapping provides the exact location, with bathymetric soundings, of ?Sidi el Ferruch?, the harbour to the west of Algiers that had been identified by Napoleon Bonaparte?s strategists as the best place to land an army to attack the Algerian capital from the landward side. While Napoleon never realized his planned invasion of Algeria, a massive French military expedition, with the aid of the printed version of the present chart landed over 30,000 troops at Sidi Ferruch on June 14, 1830, the first step in France?s ultimately successful conquest of the entire country. The original manuscript chart (#1) is more crudely executed than the printed version, in line with a work done aboard ship under somewhat tense conditions, as opposed to having been copied in a studio in Paris or Toulon. The hand shows a sophisticated formal training in draftsmanship, particularly evident in the delicate grisaille wash mariners? profile of the coast (top); however, while the chart?s title and the annotations of the mountain landmarks are clearly written, this text seems to have been squeezed in as an afterthought, it not being critical to the chart?s utility. While done in freehand, the delineation and labelling of the littoral is still very clear and precise. The manuscript chart was contemporarily trimmed and pasted to larger piece of green card, to which the marginal readings of latitude and longitude and the borders have been reapplied. This is consistent with the modus operendi of the D?? g??al de la guerre of time; we have seen several charts mounted this way by the D??, supposedly for reason of aesthetics and preservation (the original borders of the chart may have been frayed, or subject to fraying). The printed version of the chart (#2) is faithful in its cartographic content to the original manuscript, although, as already mentioned, it is more crisply executed. The title is more formally written, replacing some abbreviations with the complete words, and substituting the vernacular word ?batiments? with the more formal (and today archaic) ?Batimens?. As already noted, the mariners? profile view is flipped upside down, rotated southwards towards the coast, to facilitate more practical shipboard use. Notably, the printed version of the chart does not feature an imprint or price, features which usually appear on official published French naval charts of the era. These omissions are likely since this chart was hastily rolled-out in the early months of 1830 expressly for French military use in preparation for the planned invasion of Algeria. While the chart is cited in the list of recently published charts in an early 1830 volume of the Bulletin de la Soci??de g?graphie, indicating that it was not a ?secret? map, it was probably not intended to be sold publicly. Despite the lack of imprint, we are confident in identifying the printer and sponsor of the chart, as a collection of 18 charts of Algeria printed between 1830 and 1841, including an example of the present chart (curiously all mounted upon green card similar to the present example) appeared at a 2017 Paris auction within a portfolio that clearly labelled the D?? g??al de la guerre as being the sponsor of their publication and the Paris lithographer, Pierre-Jacques Picquet (who traded under the name of his late father, Charles Picquet) as being the publisher. The present pair of charts are not only amazing artefacts regarding the French Invasion of Algeria, but they intriguingly bear witness to the nature of the management of cartographic intelligence and publishing by the French military during one of its most consequential historical achievements. While the present manuscript chart is, of course, unique, the printed version is extremely rare; we can trace only a single institutional example, as the Biblioth?ue municipal de Lyon. Beyond that we can only trace a single example appearing at auction over the last 25 years. When researching the present chart, one should be careful not to confuse it with a totally different chart of a similar title, closely focussing upon the city of Algiers, by Vincent-Yves Boutin, likewise published by the D?? g??al de la guerre in 1830. Cartography & the French Conquest of Algeria France and Algeria had a long history. Since 1515, Algeria had been a semi-autonomous unit of the Ottoman Empire, called the Regency of Algiers, ruled by a Bey, a role somewhat like a Viceroy. Traditionally, France was the Ottoman Empire?s closest Christian ally, maintaining extensive trade with Algiers and the other major Algerian ports. In 1795-6, France entered into long-term contracts to annually purchase large quantities of wheat from Algiers merchants, who in turn bought the wheat from the Bey of Algiers. Through the Napoleonic Wars, France racked up huge unpaid debts to the Algiers merchants. By the 1820s this resulted in frayed relations between France and the Recency. On April 29, 1827, the Bey of Algiers, Hussein Dey, and the French Ambassador, Pierre Deval, had a heated argument about the wheat debts, which ended with the Bey striking Deval with his fly-whisk. This was an unprecedented insult to French dignity. France demanded that Hussein Dey apologise, but when the Bey refused, France mounted a naval blockade of the Algerian coast. The French military possessed a good working knowledge of the pilotage into Algiers and the other main pots of the country, along with some decent charts closely focussing upon these harbours. However, the coastlines beyond the main ports were imprecisely known. If France wanted to maintain protracted military operations in Algeria, a much better of these coastlines was required. It was in this context, in the summer of 1827, that Lieutenant Auguste B?ard and Ensign Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul, of the French Royal Navy, were charged with making a reconnaissance survey of the coasts of Algeria to both sides of Algiers. While they were able to precisely measure the locations of key points, and mark mountains as navigational landmarks, the tense political situation prevented them from making a complete systematic survey; notably there were able to take bathymetric soundings in only a couple of places (around the Bay of Algiers and Sidi Ferruch). Their survey resulted in the present manuscript chart (#1), which was by far and away the most accurate chart of this critical stretch of the Algerian coastline; plus, the navigational view, located at the top, would have added to its utility. While the chart is not highly detailed overall, it featured an unprecedented level of planimetric accuracy that would have rendered it operationally useful to French commanders. Even though the blockade stifled Algeria?s economy, Hussein Dey refused to satisfy French demands. In 1830, King Charles X, an aggressive conservative leader, ordered a full-scale invasion and conquest of Algeria. In preparation for the assault, the D?? g??al de la guerre, the cartography division of the French Army, was ordered to cooperate with the French Navy to publish the best available manuscript maps of Algeria. Many of these maps were printed by the prominent cartographer Pierre-Jacques Picquet, who traded under the label of his late father, Charles Picquet. In this context, it seems that the present manuscript (#1) was printed by Picquet for D?? (resulting in #2). While the printed chart does not feature an imprint or price (as with most official French sea charts of the era), and while finely lithographed, it was likely hastily rolled-out in only a very small print run for the purposes of internal military use, obviating the need for such details. In executing the invasion of Algeria, the French were fortunate to possess a well-developed plan that had been drafted for Napoleon in 1808, who aborted the endeavour before it was ventured. Admiral Guy-Victor Duperr?left Toulon at the head of a fleet of 600 ships carrying 34,000 troops, landing at Sidi Ferruch on June 14, 1830. Sidi Ferruch is one of the well-mapped portions of the present B?ard & Aubry-Bailleul chart, and this work would certainly have played a major role in the landing. After a three-week campaign, France seized Algiers on July 5, 1830. Over the next 17 years, France fought a brutal guerrilla war against various Algerian factions and the forces of the King of Morocco before conquering the entire country. France would rule Algeria until 1962. Notably, B?ard returned to Algeria in 1831, as the master of the brig Loiret. Ably assisted by the hydrographer Louis Urbain Dortet de Tessan, he executed a complete systematic trigonometrical survey of the coastlines of the entire country. This was accomplished in 1833, resulting in the publication of a series of folio search charts that served as the definitive hydrographic record of Algeria for many decades. Significantly, while these charts are better known, the present charts from the 1827 reconnaissance survey came first, playing role in the invasion, as opposed to trailing it. The Cartographers: Auguste B?ard & Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul Auguste B?ard was one of the most experienced and adventurous French mariners and hydrographers of the first half of the 19th Century. Born in Montpellier in 1796, he was trained at the ?ole sp?iale de marine de Toulon, graduating in 1815. In 1816, he was schooled in advanced hydrographic techniques while on tour in the Mediterranean. From 1817 to 1820 he was part of Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet?s famous mission circumnavigating the world aboard the ship l?Uranie. From 1822 to 1825, he joined Louis Isidore Duperrey on his circumnavigation aboard the Coquille, whereupon B?ard made many important maritime surveys, notably of harbours along the west coast of South America. In the summer of 1827, during the French naval blockade of the Algerian coast, then Lieutenant B?ard and his colleague, Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul, made the present important reconnaissance survey of the littoral adjacent to Algiers. Later that year, B?ard participated in the Battle of Navarino, a key event in the Greek War of Independence. He was seriously wounded and cited for his bravery but managed to make a full recovery. In 1830, B?ard participated in the French invasion of Algeria. As the master of the brig Loiret, from 1831 to 1833, assisted by the hydrographer Louis Urbain Dortet de Tessan, he was charged with conducting systematic trigonometric surveys of the entire coastlines of Algeria, resulting in works that remained the base charts for the country for many decades. Additionally, he published a text on the coasts of Algeria, Description nautique des c?es des possessions fran?ises dans le nord de l'Afrique (1837), which remains a great classic of North African geographical literature. He subsequently led naval-hydrographic missions to a variety of locales around the world, including Mexico (1839); New Zealand (1842); and New Caledonia (1845). In 1846, B?ard returned permanently to France, where he assumed a senior post at the D?? des cartes et plans de la Marine, the hydrographic office of the French Navy. In 1848, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and made the commander of the naval base at Toulon. He died in 1852, after having lived the experiences of many lifetimes. Tranquille Aubry-Bailleul was an important French naval and colonial administrator. He was born in 1798 in in Anglesqueville-l'Esneval (Normandy) and was trained as the Ecole navale in Brest, graduating in 1815. For some years, he served mainly in the Mediterranean theatre where he perfected his mastery of trigonometric surveying techniques. In 1827, he was paired with Auguste B?ard, whereupon they executed the present reconnaissance survey of the coasts adjacent to Algiers. Aubry-Bailleul was steadily promoted in the navy, attaining the rank of Captain in 1845. In 1848, the Cuvier, a steamship under his charge, was destroyed in a fire which sailing off Mallorca. However, at a court martial, Aubry-Bailleul received the ?verdict of honorable acquittal?, and the incident seemed not to harm his career. Aubry-Bailleul was favoured by the Second Empire Regime that assumed power in France in 1848, resulting in his elevation to senior roles. From 1851 to 1854, he served as the Governor of Guadeloupe, maintaining civil order during of time of great unrest. In 1854, he was appointed to the Conseil d'amiraut? the governing body of the French Navy. In 1858, he capped his career with his appointment as the master of the naval base at Toulon, a post once held by his old friend B?ard. References: Manuscript Chart (#1) ? N / A ? Not Recorded. Printed Version (#2): OCLC: 410184689; Bulletin de la Soci??de g?graphie, tom. 13 (1830), no. 565, p. 310; Catalogue g??al des livres composant les biblioth?ues du D?artement de la marine et des colonies, tom. III (Paris, 1840), no. 11356 (p. 177).
Last updated: Sep 28, 2019