1747 Bellin Antique Map of the Falkland Maldives Islands Argentina South America

Cartographer : Jacques Nicholas Bellin

  • Title: Carte de Maidenland ou de la Virginie de Hawkins...Richard Hawkins 1574...Cap Jean Strong...1689
  • Date: 1747
  • Condition : (A+) Fine Condition
  • Ref: 35488
  • Size: 14in x 10in (360mm x 255mm)


This beautifully engraved original antique map of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina was engraved by Jacques Nicolas and published by Jacques Nicolas Bellin for Antoine-François Prevosts 20 volume edition of L`Histoire Generale des Voyages published by Pierre de Hondt, The Hague in 1747. The map is dedicated to two English explorers Richard Hawkins and John Strong who explored the island in 1574 & 1689 respectively. Also shown is the rotes taken whilst exploring the islands.

An archipelago in the region of the Falkland Islands appeared on Portuguese maps from the early 16th century. Researchers Pepper and Pascoe cite the possibility that an unknown Portuguese expedition may have sighted the islands, based on the existence of a French copy of a Portuguese map from 1516. Maps from this period show islands known as the Sanson islands in a position that could be interpreted as the Falklands. Sightings of the islands are attributed to Ferdinand Magellan or Estêvão Gomes of the San Antonio, one of the captains in the expedition, as the Falklands fit the description of those visited to gather supplies. The account given by Pigafetta the Chronicler of Magellan's voyage contradicts attribution to either Gomes or Magellan, since it describes the position of islands close to the Patagonia coast, with the expedition following the mainland coast and the islands visited between a latitude of 49° and 51°S and also refers to meeting "giants" (described as Sansón or Samsons in the chronicle) who are believed to be the Tehuelche Indians.[6] Although acknowledging that Pigafetta's account casts doubt upon the claim, the Argentine historian Laurio H. Destefani asserts it probable that a ship from the Magellan expedition discovered the islands citing the difficulty in measuring longitude accurately, which means that islands described as close to the coast could be further away. Destefani dismisses attribution to Gomes since the course taken by him on his return would not have taken the ships near the Falklands. Destefani also attributes an early visit to the Falklands by an unknown Spanish ship, although Destefani's firm conclusions are contradicted by authors who conclude the sightings refer to the Beagle Channel. When English explorer John Davis, commander of the Desire, one of the ships belonging to Thomas Cavendish's second expedition to the New World, separated from Cavendish off the coast of what is now southern Argentina, he decided to make for the Strait of Magellan in order to find Cavendish. On 9 August 1592 a severe storm battered his ship, and Davis drifted under bare masts, taking refuge "among certain Isles never before discovered". Davis did not provide the latitude of these islands, indicating they were 50 leagues away from the Patagonian coast (they are actually 75 leagues away) Positional errors due to the Longitude problem continued to be a problem till the late 19th Century, when accurate chronometers were first produced, although Destefani asserts the error here to be "unusually large". In 1594, they may have been visited by English commander Richard Hawkins, who, combining his own name with that of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen", gave a group of islands the name of "Hawkins' Maidenland". However, the latitude given was off by at least 3 degrees and the description of the shore (including the sighting of bonfires) casts doubts on his discovery. Errors in the latitude measured can be attributed to a simple mistake reading a cross staff divided into minutes meaning the latitude measured could be 50° 48'. The description of bonfires can also be attributed to peat fires caused by lightning, which is not uncommon in the outer islands of the Falklands in February. In 1925, Conor O'Brian analysed the voyage of Hawkins and concluded that the only land he could have sighted was Steeple Jason Island. The British historian Mary Cawkell also points out that criticism of the account of Hawkins discovery should be tempered by the fact it was written 9 years after the event; Hawkins was captured by the Spanish and spent 8 years in prison. On January 24, 1600, the Dutchman Sebald de Weert visited the Jason Islands and called them the Sebald Islands (in Spanish, "Islas Sebaldinas" or "Sebaldes"). This name remained in use for the entire Falkland Islands for a long time; William Dampier used the name Sibbel de Wards in his reports of his visits in 1684 and 1703, while James Cook still referred to the Sebaldine Islands in the 1770s. The latitude that De Weert provided (50° 40') was close enough as to be considered, for the first time beyond doubt, the Falkland Islands.

English Captain John Strong, commander of the Welfare, sailed between the two principal islands in 1690 and called the passage "Falkland Channel" (now Falkland Sound), after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland (1656–1694), who as Commissioner of the Admiralty had financed the expedition and later became First Lord of the Admiralty. From this body of water the island group later took its collective name. (Ref: Tooley; M&B)

General Description: Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - white
Age of map color: - 
Colors used: - 
General color appearance: - 
Paper size: - 14in x 10in (360mm x 255mm)
Plate size: - 12 1/2in x 9 1/2in (320mm x 245mm)
Margins: - min. 1in (25mm) 

Imperfections: Margins: - None
Plate area: - Folds as issued
Verso: - None

Condition : (A+) Fine Condition