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"Amerique du Sud [South America],"
Andriveau-Goujoun, Amerique du Sud [South America]


Eugene Andriveau-Goujon. “Amérique du Sud,” (Paris: E. Andriveau-Goujon, 21 Rue de Bac, 1868). Steelplate engraving with superb full original hand color. 52 3/4 x 36 3/4" at neat line with full margins. Sectioned and mounted on linen for separate issue as a case map. Slip case and internal folder composed of marbled paper over boards. Leather label with gilt title pasted on spine: “Amérique du Sud.” Includes inset of “Îles Galapagos.” Publisher’s decorative paper label pasted on verso of first panel: “E. Andriveau-Goujon / Géographe / Editeur.” Very slight surface soiling. Otherwise fine condition for map and slip case.

This large-scale, separately issued French case map beautifully showcases South America during the height of European colonialism. Foreign possessions are indicated in full, bright color, and the color-coded key identifies French, British, and Dutch holdings. The map covers an area extending from the Isthmus of Panama and the Island of Martinique in the north to the Falkland group southeast of Tierra del Fuego. Details include state capitals, provinces, major towns, villages, and railroads. Topographical features such as the great Andean mountain chain are outstandingly documented and strikingly presented.

After the first spectacular sixteenth-century journeys by Spanish and Portuguese in search of gold and silver, development and exploration in South America lost momentum. For more than 200 years, cartographic detail of the region was limited generally to the coastlines, while the interior of the continent appeared as impenetrable jungle, except in Columbia and Peru where Europeans had encountered advanced civilizations. Even when the Spanish colonists acquired better information, little of it was published because of the secrecy surrounding their colonial activity.

Maps that extensively documented inland South America, such as the present one, became possible only after Alexander von Humboldt made his epic journeys in the rain forests of Venezuela along stretches of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers. He recorded his findings in the highly influential Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland, published in 1805. The book added much new data and restimulated interest in South America, creating a market for travel there and for maps such as this one.

The present map is a fine specimen of the pocket-book or case-map genre, in which separately issued maps were dissected, mounted on linen, and folded into slip cases. Less cumbersome than the bound atlas, the format offered portability and the leeway to produce maps on a larger scale and with greater detail. Because such maps were intended for practical use, they were revised more frequently than their atlas counterparts, thus offering the most up-to-date information.

An outstanding example of its type, Andriveau-Goujon’s “South America” is a superb evocation of its era and especially of the burgeoning nineteenth-century interest in the lands south of the equator.

Refs.: Christie’s Antique Maps, pp. 248–253; Potter, Antique Maps, 167–168.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot