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Detailed Chart of Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay/ Florida/ Revolutionary War.
LE ROUGE, G. L. [Paris, 1778]
La Baye de Spiritu Santo Côte Occidentale De la Floride….
7 ¾ x 10 inches
Superb example of a scarce nautical chart produced for the French Navy in the year France joined the American side in the War of Independence. The eastward-oriented chart shows all of Tampa Bay in detail, with depth soundings throughout. As is typical for the period, the whole of what is now known as Tampa Bay is named “Baye de Spiritu Santo” on the chart. The placename “Tampa Bay” is applied only to the northernmost part of the bay, while Hillsborough Bay is labeled at the northeast. Little inland detail is offered, save for the locations of two vital sources of fresh water.
Georges-Louis Le Rouge (c. 1712-c. 1790) was the most prolific publisher of maps and charts of North America during the period of the American Revolution. He published both an atlas of charts, in which the present work appeared—the Neptune Americo-Septentrional— and the Atlas Ameriquain Septentrional, also in 1778, described as “the best collection of French maps for North America during the Revolutionary War” (Cobb, Krieger). A former German military officer, Le Rouge established a successful map business in Paris and attained the title of “Ingenieur Geographe du Roi.”