By: John Mitchell / Georges Louis Le Rouge
Date: 1756 - 1783 (published) Paris
Dimensions: 27.9 x 39 inches (70.8 x 99 cm)
This is the upper left quarter of the Le Rouge or French edition of Dr. John Mitchell’s important map of the British and French dominions in North America. The map is highly regarded as one of the most important maps in American history. It was the map on which the borders of the newly recognized United States were plotted at the conclusion of the American Revolution. The Mitchell would also serve as the map of record in the early days of the Republic, as it was used for various treaty negotiations and border disputes. The information from the western quadrants of Mitchell’s map led Meriwether Lewis up the Marias River to determine the northern reaches of the Missouri River basin.
The portion of the map currently offered shows the area from Lake Erie and northern Ohio, westward to the northern plains and up into Canada. An insert map shows the Hudson Bay Region with a notation regarding a possible route to the Northwest Passage. Throughout the map, a wealth of information is given regarding the locations of Native American villages, routes they used, history of various nations, as well as the limits of their territories. Delineated in green from the upper Illinois through Lake Michigan and into French Canada is the territory of the Six Nations which was comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora, and played integral roles in the French and Indian war as well as the American Revolution and the post war era.
Another interesting and very important notation can be found in the lower left section of the map. Along the Missouri River is written information stating that the Missouri River extends west with a distance equal to that of the Ohio River and that it originates in the western mountains of New Mexico. Mitchell’s notation was based on the theory of symmetrical geography in which the topography of the western half of the continent was believed to be a mirror image of the continent’s eastern landforms and waterways. Because of this theory one of the principal objectives of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was to resolve these geographical conjectures. Thus, in the spring of 1804 the expedition began by following the Missouri River westward to its upper reaches in present day Montana, where it originates in the Rocky Mountains.
Condition: Map is in B condition, linen backed, with traces of light damp staining, original outline color and a few areas of separation along the folds.
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