Déscription géographique de la Guyane, contenant les possessions et les etablissemens des Francois, des Espagnols, des Portugais, des Hollandois dans ces vastes pays. Le climat, les productions de la terre et des animaux

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Author: Bellin, Jacques Nicolas (1703-1772)

Year: 1763

Publisher: L'Iimprimerie de Didot

Place: Paris


Printed title+engraved title+iii-xiv+294+[2] pages with 20 maps (8 folding) and 10 plates. Quarto (10 1/4" x 8") bound in quarter leather over paste paper boards with five raised spine bands with gilt lettering in red label. Provence The Explorers Club Collection. (Sabin 4551) First edition.

Jacques Nicolas Bellin was a French hydrographer, geographer, and member of the French intellectual group called the philosophes. In 1721, at age 18, he was appointed hydrographer (chief cartographer) to the French Navy. In August 1741, he became the first Ingénieur de la Marine of the Depot des cartes et plans de la Marine (the French Hydrographical Office) and was named Official Hydrographer of the French King. During his reign the Depot came out with prodigious amount of charts and maps among which was a large folio format sea-charts of France, the Neptune Francois. He also produced a number of sea-atlases of the world, e.g., the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These gained fame, distinction and respect all over Europe and were republished throughout the 18th and even in the succeeding century. Bellin set a very high standard of workmanship and accuracy thus gaining for France a leading role in European cartography and geography. Many of his maps were copied by other mapmakers of Europe.

Spaniards explored the Guiana coast in 1500 and settled the area around Cayenne in 1503. French merchants from Rouen opened a trading center in the coastal village of Sinnamary in 1624, followed by others from Rouen or Paris who founded Cayenne in 1643. The Treaty of Breda awarded the territory to France in 1667, and the Dutch, who had occupied Cayenne in 1664, but were expelled in 1676. French Guiana's cultural milieu reflects the diverse background of the resident ethnic communities. Indigenous and African crafts, customs, and arts predominate among their respective peoples. A distinctive mixed-Creole culture is dominant in the urban areas, highlighted by brilliantly colored and distinctively patterned costumes; dances reflecting African, East Indian, and French 18th-century influence; and festivals. This is a fine account of Guiana and the surrounding region, with discussion of the flora and fauna, indigenous peoples, and geography, especially the major rivers. Among the maps is the town of Paramaribo and the colony of Surinam, and the course of the Orinoco.

The Explorers Club is an American-based international multidisciplinary professional society with the goal of promoting scientific exploration and field study. The club was founded in New York City, and has served as a meeting point for explorers and scientists worldwide. In 1904, a group of men active in exploration met at the request of Henry Collins Walsh, to form an organization to unite explorers in the bonds of good fellowship and to promote the work of exploration by every means in its power. Among these men were Adolphus Greely, Donaldson Smith, Henry Collins Walsh, Carl Lumholtz, Marshall Saville, Frederick Dellenbaugh, and David Brainard. After several further informal meetings, The Explorers Club was incorporated on October 25, 1905. Women were first admitted in 1981, with a class including Sylvia Earle and Kathryn Sullivan.


Printed title soiled and one corner with a restored loss, some finger-soiling to first few leaves, three maps with pale staining, several of the folding maps with Explorers Club blind stamps, boards lightly rubbed, 20th century quarter bind else a very good copy.

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