Carte Reduite Des Bancs et de L'Ile de Terre-Neuve avec les Cotes du Golfe de St. Laurent et de L'Acadie
Highly detailed sea chart encompassing the Newfoundland region, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the coast of Acadia in the Atlantic Ocean.
The map shows the topographical details and contours of the coastline, including islands, capes, peninsulas, bays and harbours along the coast. It contains information on ocean currents and navigation routes, which was important for sailors of the time to navigate safely through the waters of the region. It also contains information about fishing banks which were of great importance at the time the map was produced, as fishing was an important industry in the region, one of the most important in the world.
This map was produced by the French governments's printing office of the navy (Dépôt des cartes et plans de la marine) right after the American Revolution and the Paris treaty of 1783. Thus at a critical period of the 18th century, since France and Great Britain were fighting for control over this region. In the 16th century, the French were the first to explore and establish permanent settlements in Newfoundland, they build ports and fishing fishing facilities along the coasts and began to exploit the rich fishing banks of the region. In the 17th century, the British acknowledged this region's vital importance and established their own settlements on the coast. At this point, both countries demanded exclusive rights to the region's very productive fishing banks. And even though this map was primarily made to serve French navigators travel safely through the disputed waters, it was equally an important reference source for both French and British authorities to manage fishing rights. The dispute was eventually solved by the signing of several treaties most importantly the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.
The Dépôt des cartes et plans de la marine was a French government entity in charge of the production and preservation of marine charts, coastal plans and documents for the French Navy. This institution was active from 1720 till 1886. It was founded in 1720 by the Minster of the Navy at the time Antoine Crozat (1655-1738). His objective was to provide the French Navy with high quality maps and plans to assist in navigation and trade. During its time, it was an important research center for cartography, surveying, and navigation. The maps produced and preserved in the Dépot were used by French navigators but also by other government agencies. The maps and sea charts produced were highly trusted since talented cartographers and engravers were employed to produce the maps and plans. Also, being a governmental institution, cartographers had direct access to the accounts of sailors, explorers and missionaries that provided information essential for the production of maps.