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Description

Rare Italian edition of Louis Hennepin's important map of North America by Louis Hennepin (1640-1705), which incorporates many of the discoveries omitted by Hennepin in the first edition of his map (1683).

Hennepin's map is perhaps best known as the first map to incorporate the reports of Robert La Salle's journey from the Niagara Falls region, through the Illinois Company and the Upper Mississippi River and the first appearance of the name Louisiana (which appears on the first edition of the map).

This new map was engraved by Gaspar Bouttats and dedicated to King William III of England. Offered here in the rare second edition, the map shows the continuation of La Salle's explorations of the Lower Mississippi River. The Ohio River (R Ooyo) is included, crossing two other rivers and then bending north around Lake Erie, which is still shown far south of its true location. Other important early aditions are ou Iorck, Caroline, Hudson Bay and an inset map of Terre De Iesso, with a land bridge to California. The Missouri River is shown as Les B. Des Akanssa.

Robert La Salle (1643-1687) received a grant of land on the island of Montreal in 1666. In 1668, he met with 2 Iroquois Indians, who communicated to him the existence of a westward flowing river, which corresponds with the description of the Ohio River. La Salle joined a Suplician mission to the west, leaving Montreal on July 6, 1669.

The expedition went via the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, then on to the Niagara River. The met Louis Jolliet at an Indan Village on the western shores of Lake Ontario, at which point he separated from the party, desiring to search for the river he had heard about from the Iroquois. Over the next several years, La Salle apparently travelled the area, although his report of having descended the Ohio River to to the falls at Louisville is viewed with skepticism.

In 1672, La Salle met newly the newly appointed Governor of Canada (Comte de Frontenac), who sent La Salle back to France to negotiate a monopoly of the fur trade. La Salle returned on the same ship as Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect Friar who was headed for New France. La Salle hired Hennepin to serve as the Chaplain at Fort Frontenac, the base of operations from which La Salle and Frontenac hoped to open up the west. After building a ship near Niagara Falls, La Salle and Hennepin, along with Henri de Tonty, set sail, crossin Lake Erie to Lake Huron. During the voyage, Hennepin named Lake St. Clair. By August 1679, they reached Michilimackinac and laer Green Bay (Baye des Puans), which is named on the map.

La Salle and a small party explored Lake Michigan, meeting up back up with Tonty at the mouth of the Miami (St. Joseph) River, where they constructed Fort Miami. On Decmember 3, 1679, the combined party ascended the river to the South Bend, Indiana area and crossed the Kankakee River, before descending to central Illinois, constructing Fort de Crevecoeur on Lake Peoria. La Salle then sent out a party led by Michel Aco, which included Hennepin, to explore the Upper Mississippi River.

The party descended the Illinois River (Seignelay R. on the map), then up the Mississippi River to beyond the confluence of the Wisconsin River, to Lake Pepin (the Lake of Tears), where they were captured by Indians on April 11, 1680. They were transported past the Falls of St. Anthony to the Lake Baude area, before being rescued by Daniel Greysolon Duluth (Tonty's cousin), who was then exploring the region. With Duluth, the party continued to Lake Mille Lac in northern Minnesota, where Duluth entered into a treaty with the Sioux Indians. Hennepin then returned to New France via the Falls of St. Anthony and returned to France, where he published his first book in January 1683.

Hennepin's map illustrates the territory through which La Salle had travelled and the also the course of the Mississippi River as far south as the Arkansas River, which had been reached by Marquette and Jolliet. The first edition of Hennepin's map includes a dotted line from the Arkansas southward, the supposed course of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. The course of the river is corrected in the second edition of Hennepin's map, which however includes the remarkable mis-location of the river as flowing into the Gulf of Mexico near modern day Galveston Bay. The first edition of the map does not depict either the Ohio River or the Missouri River. The first edition refers to the Mississippi as the R. Colbert and Lake Erie is shown far south of its actual location.

Hennepin's book went through 2 further editions (1684 and 1688), which included the first edition of his map. After his exile from France, Hennepin wrote two further books, his Nouvelle Decouverte (1697) and Voyage d'un Pais plus grande que L'Europe (1698), both of which were published in Utrecht by Antoine Schoten. The present map is from a rare variant of Hennepin's third book, published by Ernestus Voskuyl, which adds signficant new information.

This is the first time we have ever seen this Italian edition of Hennepen's map on the market. The map is arguably better engraved and more decorative than the original French edition, with extra embellishments in the cartouche and a strong elegant engraving style.

Reference
Burden 623. Karpinski, L.C. (MI) pp.94-5, 39; Kaufman, K. #13; cf Schwartz & Ehrenberg p.130, pl.73.