Memoir and Notice Explanatory of a Chart of Madagascar and the North-Eastern Archipelago of Mauritius


Robert Townsend Farquhar (1776–1830) entered the service of the British East India Company at a young age, served at various posts in India and the Moluccas (in present-day Indonesia), and in 1810 became governor of Mauritius, which Britain had conquered from France in the Napoleonic Wars. He commissioned a detailed map of Mauritius and neighboring Madagascar, with the objective of promoting British trade in the region. The map is the work of Jean-Baptiste Lislet-Geoffroy (1755–1836), the son of a French father, an engineer employed by the Compagnie des Indes, and an African mother, Niama, a slave who was also a princess of Galam (present-day Senegal). Lislet-Geoffroy was educated by his father, with particular emphasis on Latin, algebra, and geometry. In a long career serving first the French and later the British, Lislet-Geoffroy made scientific contributions in astronomy, botany, cartography, and geology. In 1786, he was elected a corresponding member of the French Royal Academy of Sciences, the first person of African descent so honored. In addition to the map, this volume contains an explanatory text, most likely written by Lislet-Geoffroy, in French and English, on facing pages.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

John Murray, London

Type of Item

Physical Description

v, 57 pages : frontispiece (folded chart) ; 28 centimeters


  1. G.B. Smith, “Farquhar, Sir Robert Townsend (1776-1830),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: September 18, 2015