DE L'ISLE, Guillaume (1675-1726). Carte De La Louisiane Et Du Cours Du Mississipi sur un grand nombre de Memoires entrautres sur ceux de Mr. le Maire. Paris: Quay du Horologe, 1718.
Single sheet (20 x 26 1/2 inches; 29 3/4 x 36 1/4 inches, framed). Delicate original coloring (some discoloration at center fold).
As one of the most important and influential maps of the 18th Century, this map is considered to be the main source of all subsequent maps of the Mississippi and the Western regions of the United States.
The accuracy of Delisle's cartography accounts for its primacy, as commissioned Jesuit missionary Jacque le Maire to travel to Louisiana to correct earlier versions of his map, specifically the correct position of the mouth of the Mississippi River. This is an example of Delisle taking care to advertise his use of the direct sources in that he used le Maire's name in the title of the work itself. Delisle would become known as one of the first truly professional cartographers because of his attention to accuracy and strict scrutiny of all new reports from the New World to improve his craft.
One of the first printed maps to name Texas, it was a seminal depiction of the Mississippi that was enormously influential on subsequent cartography of the region. This map was the first to reflect accurately the routes of Hernando de Soto, Henry de Tonty, and Louis de St. Denis. Because of its accurate information on the Mississippi and its tributaries, this map served throughout the eighteenth century as the prototype for most subsequent renderings of that great river.
It was, moreover, a politically provocative and aggressive map: what Delisle labeled Florida in 1703 now appeared as the unmistakably French territory of Louisiana, stretching from the Rio Grande in the west to the Appalachians in the east. Delisle also pushed the boundary line of the English colonies closer to the Atlantic. Angry protests from the British and Spanish governments against this cartographic usurpation were followed by a cartographic war, in which the map makers of each country issued productions showing their own territorial claims.
Politics aside, Delisle's rendering of Texas was a distinct improvement over previously published attempts. It featured an improved depiction of the river system and a much more accurate view of the coast. It also credibly delineated for the first time the land routes of all of the important explorers, including de Soto and Moscoso in 1540 and 1542, La Salle in 1687, and de Leon in 1689. Delisle's sources were also clearly revealed by the many references to St. Denis's explorations; the currency of his information was evident from the appearance of Natchitoches on the Red River, founded only the year before the map was printed. Throughout the map are the ranges of many Indian tribes and the locations of their villages, while boldly displayed along the Texas coast is the legend 'nomadic and man-eating Indians.' The most important notation to Texas history, however, was that appearing along the Trinity: 'Mission de los Tiejas, etablie in 1716.' Referring to the earliest of the Spanish missions in East Texas, this phrase marked the first appearance of a form of the name Texas on a printed map and thus Delisle has received proper credit for establishing Texas as a geographic place name. This is an exceptionally important map for the cartography of the Mississippi, Florida, Texas, and the South. For all inquires please contact Greg McMurray, MLS, Director, Rare Books.