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The Western Coast of Louisiana and The Coast of New Leon: Jefferys 1775

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  • Title: The Western Coast of Louisiana and The Coast of New Leon
  • Author: Thomas Jefferys
  • Date: 1775
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good Plus - light age toning, discoloration along issued center fold, creasing along bottom margin
  • Inches: 30 ⅛ x 21 ¾ [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 76.52 x 55.25 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 316060

By the end of the eighteenth century, Britain had established itself as the world’s leading naval superpower, a development which went hand-in-hand with cartographic advancement. One of the cartographers who contributed to this phenomenon was Thomas Jefferys (c. 1719-1771), Royal Geographer to King George III. We know little of his background, save that he married in 1750 and seemed to identify primarily as an engraver, rather than as a geographer. In 1766 he went bankrupt, which gave publisher Robert Sayer the opportunity to purchase a large portion of Jefferys’ materials and plates. Following this setback, Jefferys did continue to publish maps in partnership with the younger William Faden.

Ironically, many of Jefferys’ maps which have proved lastingly significant, such as this one, were published by Sayer and his business partner John Bennett; this piece appeared four years after Jefferys’ death in their 1775 West India Atlas.

Map shows the present-day Texas coast lacking much internal detail save for the region’s various river systems and bays. Jefferys notes the names of these water features and includes annotations about the general climate and Native peoples of the region. A swath of text along the coast reads “Vast Plains which are a continual Savanna intermix’d with Woods and full of Wild Beeves, They are Inhabited by the Canokosses the Ebahamas, Caouaches, Quelameloueches, Teaos and Several other Tribes of Wandering Indians.” He also indicates the alternate French and Spanish names given to various topographic features. Longitude west from the Ferro Meridian.