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1749 Vaugondy Map of the Great Lakes and New England

Les Lacs du Canada et Nouvelle Angleterre. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ordin du Roi - Main View

1749 Vaugondy Map of the Great Lakes and New England


Attractive hand colored map of the Great Lakes and the American colonies issued just prior to the French and Indian War.


Les Lacs du Canada et Nouvelle Angleterre. Par le Sr. Robert de Vaugondy, fils de Mr. Robert Géog. ordin du Roi
  1749 (dated)     7 x 9 in (17.78 x 22.86 cm)     1 : 9500000


This is a hand colored 1749 Didier Robert de Vaugondy map of the Great Lakes on the cusp of the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763). The organization of the map is significant, with the French controlled Great Lakes dominating the map. The English colonies, which are disproportionally reduced, hug the coast but, save through their alliance with the Iroquois federation, have no access to the Great Lakes. Similarly, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland are limited to lands east of the Appalachian Mountains, reflecting the French claims that would soon lead to war.

The map depicts from the middle of the United States, which Vaugondy refers to as Louisiane on the left to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, then the colonies and from Canada, just north of Lake Superior south toe the Carolinas. This map is highly detailed. It depicts some of the American colonies, though not all thirteen. New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina are labeled. New Scotland is labeled to the north of New England and the Iroquois nation is colored, giving the impression that New Scotland and the Iroquois nation are part of the American colonies, reflecting an important Indian alliance. Large cities, such as Quebec, Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York are labeled, as well as all five of the Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.

Numerous river systems are depicted, including the Mississippi. The Appalachian Mountains are depicted. Several Native American tribes are identified on the map, including the Huron and Sioux. Northern Canada, however, is noted solely as 'ce pays est inconnu' or 'unknown country'.

This map was published by Gilles Robert de Vaugondy in his Atlas Universel, Portatif et Militaire in the 1748 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. 212, 457.