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Number: 443
Continent: Africa
Region: East
Place Names: A CHART OF THE INNER PASSAGE BETWEEN THE COAST OF AFRICA AND THE ISLE OF MADAGASCAR FROM THE CHARTS OF D?ANVILLE AND D?APR? COMPARED WITH THE DRAUGHTS & JOURNALS OF THE BRITISH NAVIGATORS.
Year of Origin: 1797
Title: Chart Inner Passage..Madagascr
Sub-Title:
Language: English
Publish Origin: London
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Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale:
Color Type: No Color
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Cartographer: Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D'Anville
Engraver:
Publisher: Laurie & Whittle
Robert Laurie
James Whittle
Other Contributors: Jean Baptiste Nicolas Denis D'Apres De Mannevillette
Robert Sayer
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Notes: This excellent sea chart is by far and away the most accurate and detailed chart of Madagascar and the Mozambique coast, including the vital Mozambique Channel, available during the critical era in which Britain gained dominance over the Indian Ocean, including an attempt to make Madagascar a client state. It was considered to be the chart of record used by the mariners of the Royal Navy and the East India Company (EIC) from the time of its publication, in 1797, until the 1820s. The chart takes in all of the Madagascar, the Comoros and the Mozambique coast from ?Da Lagoa Bay? (Maputo), in the south, up to Cabo Delgado, in the north. While not scientifically perfect, the coasts of Madagascar assume a more accurate, elongated shape than the bulbous form that prevailed on many contemporary charts, while the Mozambique littoral is projected with an impressive degree of accuracy. The chart labels all major inlets, headlands, and coastal villages, while the sea feature much nautical information, including the labelling of hazards and bathymetric soundings, as well as the direction of ocean currents. Most importantly, the chart features copious, recent information communicated to the map?s publisher, Laurie & Whittle, by British mariners, some of which dates to as recently as 1793. These additions are important as they illuminate many deadly hazards in the Mozambique Channel, many of which appear for the first time on a printed sea chart. The three insets in the upper-left corner feature detailed charts of 1) the Comoros Islands; 2) the harbour of ?Johanna? (Anjouan Island), Comoros; and 3) the key anchorage at Foul Point (Mahavelona), on the east coast of Madagascar. The present edition of the chart was issued by the leading chart-making firm of Robert Laurie & James Whittle, as part of The East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator (London, 1797), the most influential atlas of African and Asian navigation of its generation. It is the second edition of the chart, the first having been issued by their predecessors in the business, Sayer & Bennett, in 1778. That being said, the present 1797 edition of the chart features much added hydrographic well beyond the Sayer & Bennett edition. Sayer & Bennett largely derived the template for the chart from the work of Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d?Anville, the legendary French royal cartographer, who first drafted the template as an untitled manuscript chart which the Biblioth?ue nationale de France designates as the [Carte manuscrite de l??e Madagascar et de la c?e d'Afrique depuis le cap de Courans jusqu??celui de Delgado], not dated, but circa 1760 (Biblioth?ue nationale de France, d?artement Cartes et plans, GE DD-2987 (8320)). A version of D?Anville?s manuscript was first published, in 1764, by his colleague Jacques-Nicolas Bellin. Historical Context: The Rise of British Power in the Indian Ocean Basin The present chart was issued during the 1790s, when Britain was engaged in an epic struggle against France for dominance over the Indian Ocean. Britain conquered the Seychelles from France in 1794, and, in 1810, captured both Mauritius and R?nion (although the latter of which would be retuned to France in 1814). At the same time, Britain worked to consolidate her dominance over the Indian Subcontinent, while expanding her presence in Southeast Asia from its bases at Georgetown (Penang, Malaysia) and Bencoolen (Bengkulu, Sumatra). Madagascar was an important waypoint for the re-victualing of British (and other European) ships, while the Mozambique Passage was one of the world?s most important shipping corridors, albeit a dangerous one, full of far-offshore shoals and reefs (thus heightening the importance of the present chart). Importantly, the present chart would still have been the authoritative chart of record of the region during the period from 1816 to 1828, when Britain made a credible (yet ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to gain political suzerainty over Madagascar while backing King Radama I in his bid to unite the entire island under his rule (which was itself largely successful). References: Newman, Dasa Pahor; Afriterra Collection, no. 443; OCLC: 861361979.
Last updated: Dec 1, 2018