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1782 Delisle Map of the United States (British Colonies - first map to name Texas)


Price: $3,200.00


Title:    Carte De La Louisiane Et Du Cours Du Mississipi Avec Les Colonies Anglaises.

Description:    A foundational map and one of the most important illustrations of North America ever published, this the 1782 Dezauche edition Guillaume De L'Isle's influential Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi. Originally issued in 1718, this map is the main source of all later maps of this region and includes a number of significant firsts, including the first printed notation of 'Texas' (the Mission de los Tiejas, stablie en 1716), the first large-scale map of the lower Mississippi, the first cartographic appearance of New Orleans (which was founded in 1716), and the first credible attempt to identify the routes of many great explores including De Soto (Moscoso), La Salle, Ponce de Leon, St. Denis, Tonti, and others. This edition, revised an updated by Dezauche in 1782, further includes new information regarding the english Colonies in North America at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War – one year before the United States was officially recognized by the British (1783).

A careful examination of this map reveals much of De L'Isle's political agenda through his carto-advocacy for French interests. Here the sprawling territory of Louisiana (rimmed in yellow) stretches from the Rio Grande, inclusive of then Spanish Texas eastwards as far as the Apalaches (Appellation Mountains). Frances's northern Territories, 'Canada ou Nouvelle France' (rimmed in red), extend southwards as far as the Illinois River and eastward to the Appellation Mountains, inclusive of all five Great Lakes as well as the northern Hudson Valley and Lake Champlain. This political configuration is particularly interesting when considered within the context of the thriving fur trade. Here France dominates the fur-rich northern part of the continent and the Mississippi River, firmly located in the heart of Louisiana, offers easy access to the French port of New Orleans and a route to French markets in europe.

Dezuache's updates to this map include a redefinition of the southeastern part of the continent. The British colonies of North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are formally recognized with distinctive borders clearly in line with French colonial ambitions in the region. The newly established colony of New Orleans is noted and further features in an inset detail in the lower right hand quadrant. The detail, entitled Carte Particulere des embouchures de la Rivie. S. Louis et de la Mobile covers from the Mississippi eastward past Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans to the entrances of Mobile and Pensacola Bays. Numerous additional place names were also added all along the eastern seaboard. Florida is curiously represented with the Baye du S. espirit leading to a network of inland water passages opening into the Atlantic.

Throughout De L'Isle notes numerous American Indian Nations and villages as well important trade routes between them and various resources. He identifies mining cites near modern day St. Louis, buffalo herds in the Great Plains, and anthropophages (Cannibals) in southern Florida.

In addition to numerous later states and editions of the map published by De l’Isle and his successors, this map was pirated by other cartographers and was the basis for maps by Homann, Moll, Senex, Seutter and others. The present example, reissued by Dezauche, a successor of De L'Isle, represents the second state of the original plate. It was published in J. Dezauche's 1789 reissue of G. De L'Isle and P. Buache's Atlas Geographique et Universel.


Date:    1782 (dated)

Source:    Delisle, G., and Buache, P., Atlas Geographique et Universel, (Dezauche, Paris), 1789.

References:    Schwartz, S., and Ehrenberg, R., The Mapping of America, pp. 140-41, (illus.) 146. Martin, J. and R., Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, pl. 19, pp. 98-9. Cumming, W. P., The Southeast in Early Maps, no. 170. Tooley, R. V., The Mapping of America, no. 47, p.22. Rumsey 4764.098 (1718 edition). Balash, A. M, How Maps Tell The Truth by Lying: An Analysis of Delisle's 1718 Carte de La Louisiane.

Cartographer:    The De L'Isle family (fl. c. 1700 - c. 1760) (also written Delisle) were, in composite, a mapmaking tour de force who redefined early 18th century European cartography. Claude De L'Isle (1644 -1720), the family patriarch, was Paris based a historian and geographer under Nicholas Sanson. De L'Isle and his sons were proponents of the school of "positive geography" and were definitive figures, defining the heights of the Golden Age of French Cartography. Of his twelve sons, four, Guillaume (1675- 1726), Simon Claude (1675 - 1726), Joseph Nicholas (1688 - 1768) and Louis (1720 - 1745), made a significant contributions to cartography. Without a doubt Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. It is said that Guillaume's skill as a cartographer was so prodigious that he drew his first map at just nine years of age. He was tutored by J. D. Cassini in astronomy, science, mathematics and cartography. By applying these diverse disciplines to the vast stores of information provided by 18th century navigators, Guillaume created the technique that came to be known as "scientific cartography", essentially an extension of Sanson's "positive geography". This revolutionary approach transformed the field of cartography and created a more accurate picture of the world. Among Guillaume's many firsts are the first naming of Texas, the first correct map of the Mississippi, the final rejection of the insular California fallacy, and the first identification of the correct longitudes of America. Stylistically De L'Isle also initiated important changes to the medium, eschewing the flamboyant Dutch style of the previous century in favor of a highly detailed yet still decorative approach that yielded map both beautiful and informative. Guillaume was elected to the French Academie Royale des Sciences at 27. Later, in 1718, he was also appointed "Premier Geographe du Roi", an office created especially for him. De L'Isle personally financed the publication of most of his maps, hoping to make heavy royalties on their sales. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1728, leaving considerable debt and an impoverished child and widow. De L'Isle's publishing firm was taken over by his assistant, Phillipe Buache who became, posthumously, his son in law. The other De L'Isle brothers, Joseph Nicholas and Louis De L'Isle, were employed in the Service of Peter the Great of Russia as astronomers and surveyors. They are responsible for cataloguing and compiling the data obtained from Russian expeditions in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America, including the seminal explorations of Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov. The De L'Isles, like their rivals the Vaugondys , must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver. Click here for a list of maps by the De L'Isle (Delisle) family.

Cartographer:    Phillipe Buache (1700 - 1773) was a late 18th century French cartographer and map publisher. Buache began his cartographic career as the workshop assistant and apprentice to the important and prolific cartographer Guillaume de L'Isle. Upon De L'Isle's untimely death, Buache took over the publishing firm cementing the relationship by marrying De L'Isle's daughter. Over the years, Bauche republished many of De L'Isle's maps and charts. Buache was eventually appointed Premier Geographe du Roi, a position created-for and previously held by Guillaume de L'Isle. Buache is most respected for his introduction of hachuring as a method from displaying underwater elevation on a two dimensional map surface. Buache compiled maps based upon geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Buache, like his primary rival Robert de Vaugondy, must be considered a speculative geographer or 'positive geographer'. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Buache's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Didier Robert De Vaugondy, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver. Buache was succeeded by his nephew Jean-Nicholas Buache de Neuville. Click here for a list of rare maps from Phillipe Buache.

Cartographer:    Jean-Claude Dezauche (fl. c. 1780 - 1838) was a French map publisher active in Paris during the first half of the 19th century. Dezauche's business model focused on editing and republishing the earlier maps of Phillipe Buache and Guillaume de L'Isle, which he acquired from Buache's heir, Jean Nicholas Buache, in 1780. Like Bauche and Dezauche held a position with the Depot de la Marine and his name many of their maps. Jean-Claude Dezuache eventually passed his business to his son, Jean André Dezauche. Click here for a list of maps by Jean-Claude Dezauche.

Size:   Printed area measures 19.5 in height x 26 inches in width (49.53 x 66.04 centimeters)

Condition:    Very good condition. Original pressmark. Wide clean margins. Original color. Blank on verso.

Code:   CoursduMississipi-delisle-1782 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 2/9/2014



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