Coutumes moeurs &c habillemens des peuples qui habitent aux environs du Cap de Bonne Esperance avec une description des animaux et reptiles qui se trouvent dans ce pais from Chatelain’s Atlas historique, ou, Nouvelle introduction à l’histoire, à la chronologie & à la géographie ancienne & moderne….
Henri Abraham Chatelain (1684-1743) is admired for his seven-volume masterwork on the history, chronology, and geography of the world, with text by Nicolas Gueudeville and over three hundred engravings, many of them large foldouts. In this decorative sheet from that work, he introduces some of the peoples and animals that inhabit southern Africa, drawing upon contemporary Dutch discoveries. His little map, however, borrows from one published in Paris more than thirty years earlier — so there is no cartographic advance here. Hottentots and Namaquas, shown in typical dress, are the two major groups that the Europeans have encountered. According to the text, the natives’ manners and habits are as different from those of Europeans as that part of the world is distant from Europe. While natives around the Cape of Good Hope do not believe in the Creation or the Redemption, they display more charity and fidelity than is often found among Christians, and they are jealous of their freedom to the point of excess. Hottentots are willing to serve the Dutch to obtain bread and tobacco, but they think the Dutch are enslaved to the earth and have to seek safety in their homes and forts; they themselves feel secure to range anywhere they please. The Hottentots have personal integrity and will share what they have with strangers; the Dutch trust them in their homes.
Among the animals pictured and described are the zebra, the rhinoceros, and the hippopotamus (vache marine). One unusual reptile found at the Cape is a lizard with three white crosses on its back. Its bite is not as bad, apparently, as that of the grand lezard, but there is a horned viper whose venom is extraordinarily dangerous.