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1744 Bellin Map of the Straits between Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior (Great Lakes)


Carte du Detroit entre le Lac Superieur et le Lac Huron, ave le Sault Sainte Marie et la Poste de Michillimakinac, Dresse sur les Manuscrits du Depot des Cartes et Plans de la Marine.
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Title:    Carte du Detroit entre le Lac Superieur et le Lac Huron, ave le Sault Sainte Marie et la Poste de Michillimakinac, Dresse sur les Manuscrits du Depot des Cartes et Plans de la Marine.

Description:    This is a fine example of Bellin's scarce 1744 map illustrating the straits between Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. The map covers from Batchawana Bay (Baye de Bachouanan) south to Whitefish Bay past Ille Parisienne to the St. Mary's River, which it follows inland, passing the Mission of St. Marie, Fort Sauvage, and Surgar Island (I. St. Georges) to the Isle St. Joseph and Lake Huron. It then follows westward as far as Bois Blanc Island and Point St. Ignace and the entrance to Lake Michigan. This is the same passage through which the United States-Canada border now runs.

Bellin originally prepared this map to illustrate Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France. It was engraved by Desbruslins Fils of Paris. Charlevoix's history thus proved exceptionally influential as one of the most comprehensive works on North America predating the French and Indian War. Copies of the Histoire et description generale were to be found in the libraries of many 18th century luminaries, including Voltaire, Franklin, and Jefferson. Jefferson especially admired Charlevoix work, calling it 'a particularly useful species of reading' and no doubt influenced his decision to pursue the historic 1802 Louisiana Purchase, possibly the most significant event in the post-colonial history of North America.


Date:    1744 (dated)

Source:    Charlevoix, Pierre François Xavier de, Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France, avec le journal historique d'un voyage fait par ordre du roi dans l'Amérique septentrionnale, (Paris: Chez Rollin) 1744.    

References:    Kershaw, K. A., Early Printed Maps of Canada, no. 945. Sabin, J., A dictionary of books relating to America: from its discovery to the present time, 12136.

Cartographer:    Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early 19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne. Click here for a list of rare maps by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin.

Size:   Printed area measures 6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.51 x 21.59 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 433000

Condition:    Very good. Margins narrow. Original fold lines exhibit minor wear. Blank on verso.

Code:   DetroitSuperiorHuronMichigan-bellin-1744 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)


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