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Hanspeter Fischer:

The Suevia Universa by Jacques de Michal (about 1725)

Cartographica Helvetica 34 (2006) 17–26


In the 17th century under the reign of Louis XIV, French military cartography had reached a high standard compared to other European states. In the Holy Roman Empire of that time, military cartography developed much more slowly because of the absence of a central leadership. It was not until the beginning of the 18th century when military cartographic work in southern Germany was promoted and intensified under Ludwig Wilhelm, the Margrave of Baden.

During that time a number of military maps and plans had been produced by Jacques de Michal (about 1680 to about 1750). After the end of the Spanish War of Succession (1714), Michal became known particularly for his work Suevia Universa, which was considered the best map of the Swabian District until the end of the old Holy Roman Empire. The Swabian District was a political entity consisting of approx. 100 secular and clerical states that controlled smaller estates. The Swabian District also included parts of the Austrian District.

Michal created his drafts between 1715 and 1725. Most of the maps produced by the publishing house Seutter were copies of various map sources. However, the Suevia Universa is one of the few maps which was actually engraved there on the basis of original drawings and published around 1725 with the author's name.

The Suevia Universa was conceived as a wall map consisting of 9 single sheets measuring a total of 154 x 141 cm. The calculated scale is approx. 1:170 000. The geodetic and geometric accuracy were in fact insufficient, and there is no information to the roads. However, its main purpose as an administrative map was nevertheless achieved.

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