Vue De Cananor by Bellin, circa 1756
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Vue De Cananor by Bellin, circa 1756

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Vue De Cananor by Jacques N. Bellin, circa 1756

This exquisitely detailed engraving features a picturesque view of a seaport city on India's Malabar Coast. Despite the scene's peaceful atmosphere, it hides a dark past. The trade center was always bustling in the mid-18th century. It was the capital of a territory that is today the Laccadive Islands. From the port, Indian merchants sold horses, silk, almonds, opium, shark fins and more to the British colonialists who began to dominate the nation's economy and politics.

Their involvement infuriated the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah. Obsessed with the idea that the British East India Company was trying to remove him from power, he seized Calcutta in June of 1756. Siraj locked up captives at Fort William and the cell he placed them in overnight was known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. Over forty-three people died there from heat exhaustion and starvation. This tragedy convinced the British Empire that Siraj was not fit for rule and they eventually ousted him. The Nawab's execution the following year in 1757 marked the beginning of the East India Company's century long reign over the continent.

Jacques Nicolas Bellin (1703-72) was an important French cartographer who spent over 50 years at the French Hydrographic Service and was appointed the first "Ingenieur Hydrographe de la Marine," and later in life "Hydrographer to the King." Bellin is best known for his high quality French sea charts and his finely engraved world maps for Prevost's "L'Histoire Generale des Voyages."

- Onastasia Youssef

Plate size: 4.75" x 5.5"

Sheet size: 6.5" x 6.75"

Condition: Slight age toning around ages and central crease (as issued), otherwise in excellent antiquarian condition 

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