Bonne northern South America 1780


Rigobert Bonne. “Carte du nouv. Rme. de Grenade, de la noule. Andalousie et de la Guyane.” From Atlas de toutes les parties connues du Globe Terrestre. Paris, 1780. 8 3/8 x 12 5/8. Engraving. Very good condition.

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Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France, so his primary interest was in marine charts. However, with his Royal connections and access to the cartographic documents in Paris, Bonne was able to compile maps containing some of the most up-to-date information of his time. This map of the northern part of South America is a good example of his work.

The northwestern corner of the continent, called here the Kingdom of Grenade, was well explored and the information is quite good. The coastline as far east as the mouth of the Amazon is also shown with accurate detail, while the coarse of that great river is relatively well depicted. Of particular interest is the depiction of a square “Lac Parime” in the northeast. This is a remnant of the famous myth of El Dorado. At the end of the sixteenth century, El Dorado was supposed to be a golden city on a large lake, called Parima, though both were nonexistent. As time went by, it became accepted that El Dorado did not exist, but the origin of the mythical lake was forgotten and it was left on maps even as late as this one.