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1762 Janvier Map of North America (Sea of the West)

L'Amerique Septentrionale Divisee en ses Principaux Etats.

1762 Janvier Map of North America (Sea of the West)


The Sea of the West at its highest expression.



L'Amerique Septentrionale Divisee en ses Principaux Etats.
  1762 (dated)    12.5 x 18 in (31.75 x 45.72 cm)     1 : 32000000


An altogether fascinating map of North America by Jean Janvier dating to 1862. Covers the continent from Panama to the Arctic Circle, extends westward to include parts of Asia and eastward as far as Iceland. This map is heavily influenced by the theoretical mappings of Guillaume de l'Isle and Philippe Buache. Javier divides the continent according to the three colonial powers that controlled it, with england controlling the colonies along the east coast, France occupying Canada and Louisiana, and Spain dominating Mexico, Florida, Cuba and Central America.

By far the most interesting aspects of this map deal with Janvier's treatment of the largely unexplored Pacific Northwest. A magnificent sea called the Sea of the West or in this case the 'Baye de L'Ouest,' occupies the greater part of the northwestern part of the continent. This body of water, alternatively called the Sea of the West or Mer de l'Ouest, was speculated by Philippe Buache and Guillaume De l'Isle in the early 18th century based upon wishful thinking, American Indian stories, and the somewhat questionable 16th century explorations of Juan de Fuca. Janvier gives the Mer de l'Ouest its fullest expression, though he specifically does not connect it to either the network of lakes and rivers extending westward form the Hudson Bay or to the similar network extending westward from Lake Superior.

These river and lake networks were being actively explored throughout the early 18th century by a number of little known but important French explorers. Most specifically the explorations of Verendrye with regard to the discovery of the Lake of the Woods (L. Des Bois) and Lake Winnipeg (L. Ouinipigon), both of which appear on this map.

even farther to the north we find the a series of straits narrowly separating American from Asia. The extreme northeast tip of Asia is itself fairly well mapped giving evidence to the explorations of Vitus Bering and Tschirikow. Slightly to the south of Asia the cartography is slightly less certain with regard to questionable islands in the north Pacific. These most likely stems from Tschirikow's sightings of the Aleutian Islands and the assumption that they may have been joined.

On the opposite side of the map, Janvier places the Great Lakes firmly within French territory, a clear case of carto-advocacy. The english colonies, outlined in red are only vaguely accurate with regard to their borders with Pennsylvania and New Jersey extending north to the Canadian border.

The lower left hand quadrant is dominated by a large decorative title cartouche depicting some of the flora of the continent.

Drawn by Jean Janvier in 1762 for issue as plate no. 32 in Jean Lattre's 1783 issue of the Atlas Moderne.


Jean or Robert Janvier (fl. 1746 - 1776) was a Paris based cartographer active in the mid to late 18th century. Janvier true first name is a matter of debate, as it appears as it often appears as either Jean or Robert. More commonly, Janvier simply signed his maps Signor Janvier. By the late 18th century Janvier seems to have been awarded the title of "Geographe Avec Privilege du Roi" and this designations appears on many of his latter maps. Janvier worked with many of the most prominent French, English and Italian map publishers of his day, including Faden, Lattre, Bonne, Santini, Zannoni, Delamarche, and Desnos.

Jean Lattre (fl. 1743 - 1793) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattre published a large corpus of maps, globes, and atlases in conjunction with a number of other important French cartographic figures, including Janvier, Zannoni, Bonne and Delamarche. He is also known to have worked with other European cartographers such as William Faden of London and the Italian cartographer Santini. Map piracy and copyright violations were common in 18th century France. Paris court records indicate that Lattre brought charges against several other period map publishers, including fellow Frenchman Desnos and the Italian map engraver Zannoni, both of whom he accused of copying his work. Lattre's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France.


Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c. 1783.    


Very good condition. Original centerfold. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 2612.070 (1782 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 629-33. Wagner, H. R., The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800, 559. Wheat, C. I., Mapping of the Transmississippi West, 1540 - 1861, 192. Sellers, J. R. and Van Ee, P. M., Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies 1570-1789, 93.
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