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1757 Bellin Map of the United States

Carte de la Floride, de la Louisiane, et Pays Voisins. - Main View

1757 Bellin Map of the United States


An important map illustrating the Mississippi Valley during the French and Indian War.


Carte de la Floride, de la Louisiane, et Pays Voisins.
  1757 (dated)     9.25 x 12.75 in (23.495 x 32.385 cm)     1 : 10000000


This is an attractively engraved and detailed 1757 map of the United States by the French cartographer Jacques-Nicholas Bellin. Centered on the Mississippi Valley, Bellin's map covers from the Riviere de Nord (Rio Grande) eastward to Lake Ontario and from Lake Huron to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. This map is extremely rich in detail illustrating and naming countless American Indian settlements and villages. Bellin offers a wealth of new material throughout marking this map as a unique and meticulously researched production.
This Map's Importance
Like the Delisle map it is based on, this map is significant on many levels, not the least of which is its presentation, from a French perspective, of the territorial alignments and claims of North America shortly following the outbreak of the French and Indian War. The map's largest text block reads 'Louisiane' and fills the center of the map, clearly defining the map's focus. French territory extends as far east as the Appalachian Mountains, relegating the British colonies to relatively meager Atlantic coastal holdings. On the opposite side of the continent French dominion extends as far as the Riviere du Nord (Rio Grande), including all of Texas and parts of modern day New Mexico - claims associated with La Salle's explorations and colonization of the Gulf Coast in 1685 (these claims, incidentally, led to 19th century U.S. Claims on Texas associated with the Louisiana Purchase). Detailed identification of hundreds of American Indian nations and settlements throughout the territory, mostly along known river courses, further illustrate France's paternal and comparatively peaceable approach to New World Indian relations, commerce, and colonization.
The French and Indian War
Most consider the French and Indian War to be a microcosm of the global Seven Years' War. It was however notably distinct both in that it began before that larger hostilities in Europe and that most of the major battles involved primarily parties only loosely aligned with the French or English - most specifically American Indians and lawless frontiersman, who had their own political agenda. The war began with French incursions into western Pennsylvania and other territories claimed simultaneously by French, English, and American Indian forces. Just prior to the war, the French, in the interest of broadening their hold on the lucrative fur trade, established a series of forts, all of which are noted here, along the length of the Mississippi and further east, including Fort Duquesne, Fort de la Presquisle, and Fort Le Beouf. These last three forts occupied particularly contested territory under the control of the powerful British allied Iroquois League. The most contested of these was Fort Duquesne, which stood at the Forks of the Ohio (modern day Pittsburgh) in direct opposition to another fort then being constructed by the Ohio Company, a trading and land speculation firm established by prominent Virginia colonials, including George Washington. The Virginia colonial governor responded to Duquesne by sending then Lieutenant George Washington and a band of Virginia militiamen to harass the French. The resulting Jumonville Affair, in which Washington oversaw an attack on a French-Canadian diplomatic force led by Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville to warn the Ohio Company fort builders away from French claimed territory. The slaying of Jumonville and several other French diplomats prompted a response from French forces at Fort Duquesne, leading to Washington's retreat and construction of Fort Necessity, in reality little more than a palisaded shack, marked here just south of Fort Duquesne. These events, all of which occurred in May of 1754, were said to have increased hostilities in Europe and led to the start of the Seven Years' War in 1755.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by Jacques Nicolas Bellin and published as plate no. 12 in volume 14 of the 1757 French edition of Abbé Prévost's Histoire Générale des Voyages. Seven examples of the separate map are cataloged in OCLC and they are part of the institutional collections at Yale University, the Newberry Library, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Quebec, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, and the Universitätsbibliothek München.


Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 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. More by this mapmaker...

Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles (April 1, 1697 – November 25, 1763), usually known the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist. Having had difficulty in his youth determining a preference for life in the military or life among the Jesuits, he eventually wound up with the Benedictines, with whom he took vows. Despite his taking the vows, the vows evidently did not take with him: in 1728 he abandoned his abbey and fled to London. Naturally, he became a writer. In this he was prolific, both producing his own work and translations of others. Beginning in 1726, he published the first volume of his Histoire générale des voyages, which he worked on for the remained of his life and which was completed by his associates after his death, stretching to 25 volumes. Learn More...


Prevost, A., L'Histoire Generale des Voyages, Vol XIV, plate 12.    


Very good. Exhibits slight offsetting.


OCLC 937847195.