James Robertson. Map of the Island of Jamaica. 1804

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James Robertson,  (ca 1756-1841)

To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, this Map of the Island of Jamaica, constructed from actual surveys, under the authority of the Hon. House of Assembly; by whom it hath been examined, and unanimously approved; is, with His Gracious Permission, most humbly inscribed by His Majesty’s most dutiful, and loyal subject and servant, James Robertson, A.M. 1804. London, Published Nov. 1 1804 by James Robertson A.M. late of Jamaica. Engraved by S.J. Neele, No. 352 Strand, London. [left center] Explanation [lower left] The Latitude & Longitude of the Most Remarkable Points & Places Ascertained Accurately. [lower left] References to Some of the Most Remarkable Mountains.

London 1804

Paper Size: 35.83" x 74.41"

"First edition. Cundall, “A Chronological List of the Maps of Jamaica in the Library Institute of Jamaica” #41. An exceedingly large-scale, detailed map of Jamaica showing physical features, such as mountains, streams, and bodies of water, locations of towns and settlements, roads, mills, plantations, harbors, and offshore islands. One of Robertson’s important contributions was that he delineated the new county and parish boundaries that had been established a few years earlier. This map was used to help settle land litigation. It is among the early topographic maps to show an entire country (the earliest being the French Carte géométrique de la France). Scotsman James Robertson of Shetland (ca. 1756-1841) was Jamaica’s first real surveyor in the sense that he worked as a cartographer rather than a land surveyor. He came to Jamaica around 1778 and persuaded the Council to give him a commission to survey the entire island for the sum of £5,000 whereupon he commenced surveys of the three counties and the entire island. In 1802 he returned to England to have his map published and subsequently returned to Jamaica. He soon left, however, to return to England where he died. All in all, the Jamaican Council paid him over £10,000 for his work, making Robertson probably the first profitable mapmaker on the island. He is considered the father of modern Jamaican cartography. This grandiose map has been praised since its publication."