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1749 Vaugondy Map of the Mississippi River and Louisiana

Cours du Mississipi et la Louisiane. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Géog. Du Roi. - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of the Mississippi River and Louisiana


Uncommon map of the Mississippi River and Louisiana issued a few years before the French and Indian War.


Cours du Mississipi et la Louisiane. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Géog. Du Roi.
  1749 (dated)     9 x 7 in (22.86 x 17.78 cm)     1 : 9600000


This is a hand colored 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of the Mississippi River and Louisiana. Issued just before the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763), this map focuses on the Mississippi River, depicting from north of Lake Michigan at the top of the map south to the mouth of the Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana at the bottom and from Pays des Canses and the Pays des Osages east to the Carolinas, Florida, and Lake Erie. The map presents the Mississippi River system in detail, depicting the many tributaries and confluences along its course, including the Missouri River. French forts and merchant establishments are noted throughout in an attempt to express political, settlement, and mercantile activity in the region and thereby assert land claims. Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie are depicted in the upper-right corner. Most of the country depicted in the map is labeled using Native American tribes, such as the Pawnee (Panis), the Cherokee (Cheraquis) and the Osage. New Orleans is labeled in Louisiana as well as Lake Pontchartrain (L. Ponchartrain). The border between Spanish-held Texans and French-held Louisiana is easily recognizable.

This map was published by Gilles Robert de Vaugondy in his Atlas Universel, Portatif et Militaire in the 1749 edition.


Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. 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 Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, 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. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, 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. After Didier died, his maps were acquired by Jean-Baptiste Fortin who in 1787 sold them to Charles-François Delamarche (1740 - 1817). While Delamarche prospered from the Vaugondy maps, he also defrauded Vaugondy's window Marie Louise Rosalie Dangy of her inheritance and may even have killed her. Learn More...


Robert de Vaugondy, G. Atlas Portatif, Universel, et Militaire (Paris: Vaugondy, Durand, Pissot) 1749.    


Very good. Blank on verso. Original press mark visible.


Pedley, M. S., Bel et Utile, p. 214, #470.