Carte des Lacs du Canada. Dressee sur les Manuscrits du Depost des Cartes, Plans et Journaux de la Marine et sur le Journal du RP. De Charlevoix. Par N. Bellin Ingenieur et Hdrographe de la Marine
By: Jacques Nicolas Bellin
Date: 1744 (dated) Paris
Dimensions: 11.5 x 18 inches (29.2 x 45.7 cm)
This mid-18th century antique map of the Great Lakes arguably one of the most important maps of the region ever created. It provided a noticeable and accurate update with regards to the geography of the Great Lakes as compared to maps prior, while also providing one of the most famous errors as it is the earliest obtainable map to include the four false islands of Lake Superior; Philippeaux, Pontchartrain, Maurepas, and St. Anne.
In the journal of Charlevoix where this map appeared, he noted the importance of the islands with regards to their mineral and timber resources. These false islands would appear in many subsequent maps, including John Mitchell's 1755 wall map of America that would be used during the 1783 Treaty of Paris to help distinguish the border between America and British Possessions in Canada. Of course the eventual realization that the islands never did exist would lead to geo-political strife between the two countries later down the road.
The map also provides a wealth of new information regarding the Native American tribes that inhabited the region. French fur trappers had already made great headway, both in the exploration of the region and in their relations with the indigenous people. Some place names used today originated from these early French maps that transliterated them from native tongues or named regions after tribes. One of the most well known places that fits this description is Chicagou, which is derived from the term Shikawa, an Algonquin work for "wild leek." Today people like to describe Chicago as a city named after smelly onions, which is only about half accurate.
Looking closer, one will find numerous French forts, references to indigenous tribal history, and a wide array of named rivers, and interesting topographical detail including the overall shape of Michigan and a large elevate plain that runs North-South.
Condition: This map is in B condition with two holes along the fold intersections that have been filled in and reinforced with contemporary paper and archival materials. Margins are uneven, but provide room for proper framing. Impression is strong and sharp.
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