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Map of French Canada


Map of French Canada

Isle, Guillaume L' / Mortier, Pierre

Title Leupe: Carte du Canada ou de la Nouvelle France et des decouvertes qui y ont ete faites etc.

Covens & Mortier's print of De L'Isle's seminal map of Canada, the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest became the definitive version. For the first time, the whole of the Great Lakes was displayed correctly, its position relative to Hudson's Bay was sound and the Avalon Peninsula was shown close to reality. The major river systems and mountains of the region were displayed accurately, and partly based on reports like the Nouveaux voyages dans l'Amérique septentrionale (1703) of Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, Baron de Lahontan who travelled extensively in the Wisconsin, Minnesota and the upper Mississippi Valley. De L'isle, for instance, highlights the point at which Baron de Lahontan's direct observations end and the Baron’s descriptions become based on reports from Native Americans. He also expresses doubt on these accounts: "…a moins que le dit Sr. de Lahonton n'ait inventé tout ces choses ce quil est difficile de resoudre, étant le seul qui a penetré dans cest vastes contrées" (“Unless the Seigneur de Lahonton has invented all of these things, which is difficult to resolve, he being the only one who has penetrated this vast land”). He also notes a large salt water lake might be found in the west-"…sur la quelle ils navigant avec de grands bateaux" which likely concerns the Great Salt Lake or even the passage to the Pacific. This and other observations might have derived from De L'Isle’s studies on the work of the Jesuit Missionaries like Franquelin and Jolliet conducted while operating at the French Maritime Ministry from 1700 to 1703. In addition, he likely learned cartographic tricks from his publisher in Amsterdam, as the map reveals stylistic elements from Dutch mapmakers ranging from the banderol to the compass to shorelines.

Scale 100 French Sea miles = 60 ‘strepen’ (ca. 1 : 9,000,000).

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