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Rare first state of Louis de Hennepin's map of North America, from his Nouvelle Decouverte d'un Tres Grand Pays.

Hennepin, a member of the Recollet Order of Franciscans, accompanied La Salle on his journey down the Mississippi in 1682, in search of a water route to the Pacific.

His report and this map provide an excellent summary of the state of knowledge at the beginning of the 18th century of the geography of North America. Among other things, the map attempts to place into perspective Hennepin's mapping of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Karpinski noted that Hennepin's delineations of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are remarkable improvements upon the Sanson maps.

The map's configuration of the Great Lakes and of the North American coastline suggest reliance upon a different map than the second map in his book. Both maps, however, show the Mississippi River entering the Gulf far to the west of its actual location. Some historians believe this was done deliberately by La Salle to discourage colonization of the Gulf area by rival nations, by showing the lower Mississippi River as Spanish territory.

Hennepin was one of the best regarded chroniclers of the exploration of the American interior. Several books in numerous editions appeared under his name, although he was also given to sensational and unsupportable claims, such as his claim to have been first to the mouth of the Missisippi, ahead of LaSalle.

The map is known in 4 states:

  • G. Broedelet imprint (Utrecht, 1697). California attached to the mainland--not shown as an island!)
  • Amerique Septentrionalis added to the beginning of the title. C Specht imprint. (Utrecht, 1698). California shown as an island. Shipping routes added in the Atlantic. Two Apache regions named.
  • Chez A. v. Someneren imprint (Amsterdam, 1698)
  • Pierre Vander Aa imprint (Leiden, 1704)

A seminal collectors map. The 1697 edition is very rare on the market. No examples of the first edition are noted in AMPR going back over 30 years. This is the first example of the first state of the map we have seen on the market in over 20 years.

Condition Description
Narrow margins, as issued. Minor fold intersection repair above decorative scale of miles.