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Freycinet Map of Australia, voyages of Baudin, published 1811

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Australia - The Baudin Map, 'Carte de la Nouvelle Hollande', by Louis-Claude Freycinet, printed France,
1811
Size: 102 x 88 cm
#1016000
Only 1 left

Availability: SOLD - Contact us if you would like us to find you another.

References: This map is regarded as the first complete map of Australia, as charted by Nicolas Baudin on his great scientific expedition 1800-03. He was given the responsibility of upholding the French scientific reputation in light of the English advances in exploration of the world. They were of course at war with the English, and scientific achievements were yet another facet of this struggle. He received his orders from First Consul Bonarparte in 1800, and in October that year he left France, commissioned “to examine in detail the south-west, west, north-west and north coasts of New Holland, some of which are entirely unknown..... By combining the work that will be done on these various parts with that of the English navigators on the east coast and of D’Entrecasteaux on Van Diemen’s Land, we shall come to know the entire coastline of this Great South Land” The motive for the expedition was apparently scientific, with twenty scholars from every major field of science. However, there was a more political purpose also: the English colony of Port Jackson had been established for 12 years, and the French realised that this could be the last opportunity to counter British power in the South Pacific, perhaps by beginning a colony of their own. There was a belief that New Holland and New South Wales may have been two different islands, with a gulf separating them. When they found the opening to a gulf in present day South Australia - which Baudin named Gulf de Napoleon - there was great excitement, but after following it as far as they could, they realised there was no interior passage. They named the features of the area after Napoleon, Josephine, various politicians, and Frenchmen of note. However, while they appear on the expedition maps, they were later reversed by an unfortunate reality: the British had beaten them by a matter of weeks. On 22 April 1802, there was a sensational encounter in a place they named Encounter Bay: here, Baudin was at anchor when Mathew Flinders came sailing into view, having circumnavigated the Australian coastline in the opposite direction. Their nations were at war, and as they cautiously met, they put aside national enmity for scientific enlightenment, exchanging maps - including the evidence that the British had mapped the area first. Baudin never made it back to France, dying on the way. The maps were finally printed in 1811, which was three years before Flinders published his: at least he won that race!

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