Auction 119, Lot 201

"Carte de la Louisiane Colonie Francaise avec le Cours du Fleuve St. Louis, les Rivieres Adjacentes, les Nations des Naturels, les Stablissems. Franciase et les Mines", Le Page du Pratz

Subject: Colonial Louisiana, Central United States

Period: 1757 (dated)

Publication: Histoire de la Louisiane

Color: Hand Color

13.5 x 10 inches
34.3 x 25.4 cm

This scarce map of the heart of French Louisiana covers the Mississippi River valley and extends from Santa Fe in the West to the Appalachian Mountains in the East. The Great Lakes, naming Forts Detroit and Niagara, are shown with numerous portages linking them to rivers flowing into the Mississippi River. The Missouri River flows from the West unimpeded by any mountains. This representation was consistent with the widely held belief that the source of the Missouri was near the source of the Rio Grande (here called Rio del Nort). Numerous forts, trading posts, Indian villages and mines are located along the rivers. Both French and Spanish forts are located near Natchitoches reflecting the conflicting claims to Texas by those two nations. West of the Mississippi is Lahontan's Grande Riviere nearly connecting with the Belle Riviere (Beautiful River) purportedly forming the long sought Northwest Passage. In his book, Le Page du Pratz tells of an Indian (Moncacht-ape) who discovered a route to the Pacific Ocean via the Beautiful River. The Indian’s path from the Missouri to the Beautiful River is shown on the map.

Le Page du Pratz, a French military engineer, resided in Louisiana in the early part of the eighteenth century. During this period he made a five-month tour of the interior of Louisiana. On his return to France he wrote this important history of Louisiana based on his own adventures combined with information from other French explorers including Bourgmont, Charlevoix and Dumont de Montigny. Thomas Jefferson owned the English edition of Le Page du Pratz’s work and used it as a reference source for his treatise on Louisiana. Meriwether Lewis took a borrowed edition on the expedition to the Pacific and made several references to the work in his journal of the expedition.

References: Wheat [TMW] #139.

Condition: A

Issued folding, now pressed. There are a couple of faint foxing stains, but it is overall very good.

Estimate: $800 - $900

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 5/9/2007