Published in Mentelle and Chanlaire's, "Atlas universel de geographie physique et politique, ancienne et moderne, presente a l'instruction des ecoles centrales, pour les classes de geographie,d'histoire et de legislation" (Paris, 1791-1801).
Appearing in a French school atlas published at the beginning of the 19th century, this map demonstrates the close proximity of Cuba to Florida (separated only by the 110-mile wide Florida Strait) and the Bahama Islands. The latter are identified here as the Lucayas, thus named for the native inhabitants first encountered by Christopher Columbus. His initial landfall is noted on this map as Chat (Cat) or Guanahani Island, although nearby is Watling (San Salvador) Island, which is generally accepted today as Columbus' original landfall. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Bahamas provided a haven for British privateers who harassed the Spanish fleets leaving Havana and sailing north along the Florida coast.
This map was apparently prepared for an international audience, since it includes both French and Spanish scale measurements and two longitude designations, one based on the Paris Meridian (at the bottom) and the Spanish preference of the Ferro Meridian in the Canary Islands (at the top).
Cataloging, conservation, and digitization made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.