1758 J N Bellin Large Antique Map of The Caribbean Island of Jamaica

Cartographer : Jacques Nicholas Bellin

  • TitleCarte Particuliere De L Isle De La Jamaique Dressee au Depost des Cartes Plans et Journaux de la Marine . . . M. DCC LVIII
  • Date : 1758
  • Condition: (A) Very Good Condition
  • Ref:  82084
  • Size: 36in x 24in (915mm x 610mm)

This very large beautifully hand coloured original copper-plate engraved antique map, a sea chart, of the Caribbean Island of Jamaica by Jacques Nicolas Bellin in 1758 - dated in the title cartouche - was published by the Depot De La Marine, Paris.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 36in x 24in (915mm x 610mm)
Plate size: - 36in x 23 1/2in (915mm x 600mm)
Margins: - Min 1/4in (5mm)

Margins: - L&R margin cropped to plate-mark
Plate area: - Professional restoration to top centerfold, 2 names penned in to top of map & bottom right corner
Verso: - Professional restoration along centerfold

At the time of publishing the Island of Jamaica was under the British, after 150 years of Spanish rule. The focus of the British was trade and specifically that of Sugar, which required a large labor force. This labor, as in all of the Americas, was supplied from the abhorrent African slave trade.
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Previously inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, and the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on African slaves. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations.
Spanish Town has the oldest cathedral of the British colonies in the Caribbean. The Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. In the 1655 Invasion of Jamaica, the English, led by Sir William Penn and General Robert Venables, took over the last Spanish fort on the island. The name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía (or Bay of Lard), alluding to the lard-making industry based on processing the numerous boars in the area.
In 1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 white and 1,500 black. By the early 1670s, as the English developed sugar cane plantations and imported more slaves, black people formed a majority of the population. The colony was shaken and almost destroyed by the 1692 Jamaica earthquake.
The Irish in Jamaica also formed a large part of the islands early population, making up two-thirds of the white population on the island in the late 17th century, twice that of the English population. They were brought in as indentured labourers and soldiers after the conquest of Jamaica by Cromwells forces in 1655. The majority of Irish were transported by force as political prisoners of war from Ireland as a result of the ongoing Wars of the Three Kingdoms at the time. Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century.
Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and then forcibly converted to Christianity in Portugal, during a period of persecution by the Inquisition. Some Spanish and Portuguese Jewish refugees went to the Netherlands and England, and from there to Jamaica. Others were part of the Iberian colonisation of the New World, after overtly converting to Catholicism, as only Catholics were allowed in the Spanish colonies. By 1660, Jamaica had become a refuge for Jews in the New World, also attracting those who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.
An early group of Jews arrived in 1510, soon after the son of Christopher Columbus settled on the island. Primarily working as merchants and traders, the Jewish community was forced to live a clandestine life, calling themselves Portugals. After the British took over rule of Jamaica, the Jews decided the best defense against Spains regaining control was to encourage making the colony a base for Caribbean pirates. With the pirates installed in Port Royal, which became the largest city in the Caribbean, the Spanish would be deterred from attacking. The British leaders agreed with the viability of this strategy to forestall outside aggression.
When the English captured Jamaica in 1655, the Spanish colonists fled after freeing their slaves. The slaves dispersed into the mountains, joining the maroons, those who had previously escaped to live with the Taíno native people. During the centuries of slavery, Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, where they maintained their freedom and independence for generations. The Jamaican Maroons fought the British during the 18th century. Under treaties of 1738 and 1739, the British agreed to stop trying to round them up in exchange for their leaving the colonial settlements alone, but serving if needed for military actions. Some of the communities were broken up and the British deported Maroons to Nova Scotia and, later, Sierra Leone. The name is still used today by modern Maroon descendants, who have certain rights and autonomy at the community of Accompong.
During its first 200 years of British rule, Jamaica became one of the worlds leading sugar-exporting, slave-dependent colonies, producing more than 77,000 tons of sugar annually between 1820 and 1824. After the abolition of the international slave trade in 1807, the British began to import indentured servants to supplement the labour pool, as many freedmen resisted working on the plantations. Workers recruited from India began arriving in 1845, Chinese workers in 1854.