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1789 Brion de la Tour Map of North America (Northwest Passage)

Nouveau Mexique, Louisiane, Canada, et les Etats Unis. - Main View

1789 Brion de la Tour Map of North America (Northwest Passage)



Nouveau Mexique, Louisiane, Canada, et les Etats Unis.
  1786 (dated)     11 x 19 in (27.94 x 48.26 cm)


A rare and highly unusual late 18th century map of North America. Depicts North America according to the French conception with a northwest passage extending west from Hudson Bay towards Lake Winipigue then along the mythical 'R. de L'Ouest' to the 'Entrée de Martin d'Aguilar' (likely the entrance to Columbia River). The main body of the map is divided into three sections, Nouveau Mexique, extending west of the Rio Grande, Louisiana between the Rio Grande and a fledgling United States, and along the eastern seaboard, the United States. Nouveau Mexique includes the mythical kingdoms of gold Quiviara and Toguayo as well as more accurate indications for American Indian Tribes, missions, and rivers. Louisiana is divided into two regions, Floride, which contains all of the territory between the appellations and the Mississippi, and Louisiana proper. The United States is relegated to a narrow region along the Atlantic coast bounded on the west by the Appellation Mountains and completely excluded from access to the Great Lakes – possibly referencing a French claim to the region. Elaborate rococo title cartouche in the lower right quadrant. The earliest variant on this map was published in 1866 and varied only in that 'Nlle. Angleterre' was replaced with 'Etats-Unis' in later editions. Prepared by Brion de la tour and published in L. C. Desnos' 'Geographie Moderne, Historique et Politique.'


Louis Brion de la Tour (1743 - 1803) was the Cartographer Royal to the King of France, his official title being Ingenieur-Geographe du Roi. Despite a prolific cartographic career and several important atlases to his name, little is actually known of his life and career. He may have been born in Bordeaux. His son of the same name was born in 1763 and published until his death in 1832. It is nearly impossible to distinguish the work of the father from the work of the son, as both used the same imprint and were active in roughly the same period. Much of their work was published in partnership Louis Charles Desnos (fl. 1750 - 1790). Their most notable work is generally regarded to be his 1766 Atlas General. More by this mapmaker...


very good condition. Minor discoloration on original centerfold. Minor discoloration to left text in lower left quadrant. Older closed tear repaired lower right quadrant.


Phillips, 5999. New York Public Library, Map Division, 02-285.