Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was a French cartographer, hydrographer and engineer of the French Navy. He was born in Paris and was a member of the Naval Academy and the Royal Society of London. In the fifty years of his career Bellin published several works on navigation and designed multiple maps and Atlases. His maps of the French colonies in North America are considered among the most authoritative. He also wrote approximately a thousand entries for Diderot's Encyclopedia. Bellin's maps are now kept in the National Library of France.
Bellin was also entrusted with mapping the coasts and anchorages of the Adriatic, the Ionian sea and the Peloponnese. Aside from his maps of the coastline, Bellin's research provides information on his stay in the locations he recorded. Thus, besides the familiar mentions of fortresses and ancient place names, which he most probably drew from older portolani and other geographic works, Bellin is among the first cases of a traveller who walked and visited villages and small settlements away from larger cities himself.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou