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Description

Scarce map of America, one of the earliest to illustrate the Sea of the West.

The source of the modern myth of the Bay of the West are manuscript maps by Guillaume De L'Isle, the Royal Geographer to the King of France at the end of the 17th Century and beginning of the 18th Century. There is a map in Yale's map collection, which depicts a 16th century Thames school map of North America with a large "Branch of the South Sea", which closely resembles De L'Isle's Mer de L'Ouest and may well be the source of De L'isle's idea. There are De L'Isle manuscripts in the Bibliotheque Nationale as early as 1696 (dated) that depict this cartographic myth. Interestingly, De L'Isle never depected this sea on any of his printed maps.

The first printed map to show the Bay of the West derives from Nolin's rare world map . There are 3 states of the map, according to McGuirk. The states bear the imprints of Pierre Mortier, David Mortier, and the Covens & Mortier. None of the states are dated, although estimates ranges from just before 1700 to 1704-07 for the first state, with the Covens & Mortier state being offered from 1721 onwards. It should be noted that De L'Isle sued Nolin for stealing his idea and image of the Mer de L'Ouest for his wall map (see Shirley 605). Being in another country, Mortier was not subject to French jurisdiction and was therefore not sued. Nolin lost the lawsuit, and in his future wall maps, was forced to depict a different and smaller Mer De L'Ouest which, interestingly, somewhat resembles Puget Sound.

The map also includes an interesting treatment of Florida as an Archipelago, nice detail in California and the Mississippi Valley. Also includes an interesting projection of New Zealand and location of many Islands in the Pacific, many of which are either fanciful or badly misplaced.

Nolin dedicates this map to Monseigneur LAW controlleur general des finances. John Law was a Scottish financier, who was masterminding the economic recovery of France, one element of his plan being the exploitation of the French possessions in Louisiana, the so-called Mississippi scheme, which was briefly successful and set off a wild period of speculation, before the Mississippi Bubble burst. Law fled to Venice in disgrace, but not before creating one of the first speculative booms based upon American real estate. Full color example.

Condition Description
Minor toning