John Thomason Caraccas and Guiana


John Thomson.  “Caraccas and Guiana.”  From Thomson’s New General Atlas.  Ediburgh: J. Thomson, 1817.  19 1/2 x 23 1/4.  Engraving by J. Moffat.  Original hand color.  Very good condition.


An original antique map of the northeastern part of South American.  The map was issued by John Thomson, a map publisher from Edinburgh, whose maps were typical of the high standard of British mapmaking in the early 19th century.  Though this area was not that well known, Thomson shows many rivers and quite a bit of orography.  Of particular note is the inclusion–on the British model of the day–of the non-existent Lake Prima.  This imaginary lake had its origin in the old Spanish myth of El Dorado, which was supposedly on a large lake in the Guyana highlands.  While the city of El Dorado disappeared, many mapmakers kept this mythical lake.  This is a nice example of this mistake.