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086 New Map of Louisiana

086 New Map of Louisiana

  • 3125

Beginning in the late 1600s and in the early 1700s, French exploration of the Upper South was in full swing, and trappers and traders alike sent reports to officials in French Canada-Quebec.

Exploration of North America by French government officials and colonists made it possible for the French to map and claim La Louisiane – Louisiana as its territory. However, the English also had a presence in the region, occupying within the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both the French and the English mapped different regions of North America during that time period. One story about how the map, "A New Map of Louisiana and the River Mississippi," came about is that the English were angry that the original map was in French, and so, the English response was to draw their own map of the region. Whether fact or fiction, the map was significant during its time, depicting the strong presence of the French in the center of North America, a threat to the English that were situated near the Atlantic Ridge. The implication was a rise and fall of colonies, and stories about individuals rather than empires. 

The map was most likely created from Guillaume Delisle’s 1718 map, “Carte de la Louisiane et du cours du Mississipi," which is the primary source of numerous preceding maps of North America. There is speculation surrounding the exact origin of this important map; the map appears in James Smith’s “Some Considerations on the Consequences of the French Settling Colonies on the Mississippi, with Respect to the Trade and Safety of the English Plantations in America and the West-Indies, 1720” and “The Memoirs and Secret Negotiations of John Ker Containing Material on Louisiana and French Empire in America, (1726)” by John Ker of Kersland, in North Britain.

Reflecting the viewpoint of the French, the map details French trading posts, including Fort Prudhomme, numerous Indian villages and Indian nations, and land mass, such as the Apalatean Mountains (Appalachian Mts.) Three of the Great Lakes- Huron, Ontario, Erie are clearly identified, along with other smaller lakes. French routes are also identified, for example, notations indicate the road the French took to Carolina. The territories along the eastern seaboard are also illustrated in great detail. This map perhaps, satisfied the cartographic objective of the English, but also served a political purpose-invalidated English claims west of the Appalachian Mountains, and demonstrated French territorial control of Louisiana in the 1700s.

All sizes are approximate. 

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