The first large-format map to depict India as single coherent entity and a major monument of Enlightenment Era cartography, based upon the latest authoritative sources.
This important work represents first large-format printed map to embrace of all of India. It was prepared by Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville, then France’s leading mapmaker, at the behest of the French East India Company.
D’Anville’s map marks a seminal juncture in the evolution of how India was viewed by Europeans. Critically, it can be argued that it is the first detailed map to show the subcontinent as being ‘One India’, or a single coherent geographical entity.
The map is revolutionary in its stark simplicity. It is entitled ‘Carte de l’Inde’ (Map of India) and while numerous regions are labeled throughout, political divisions are omitted. Up to this point, maps generally made a point of dividing India into broad regional framings, such as maps of northern or southern / peninsular India or maps focusing on certain Indian states or European colonial enclaves.
Notably, the map also follows the ethic of empiricism favoured by the contemporary European Enlightenment, as D’Anville depicts only details that are based on authoritative sources, while areas unknown or little understood by Europeans are left blank.
While that map was made with French ambitions in mind, it prefigures the notion of India as being united under a single imperial power, a feat later realized by the British ‘Company Raj’.