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Description

First edition of this highly influential map depicting Baron de Lahontan's imaginary west-east Long River (Riviere Longue), rising in distant western mountains and emptying into the upper Mississippi.

The map extends east to the Great Lakes to show Lac Superieur, and Lac de Illinois (Michigan), along with a number of the early French forts and fur trading outposts. The detail in this larger format edition is noteworthy, showing the Pais de Mozeemlek, Pais de Gnacsitares, the boats used by various tribes, a typical community house of the Tahuglauk and other notes on Indian life. French and Indian settlements are shown on all the major rivers.

Lahontan's map was one of the most influential of all mythical cartographic works, effecting the cartographic landscape of the upper Mississippi, Plains and Rocky Mountain Regions, for nearly 50 years. Issued in N oueaux Voyages de M. le Baron de Lahontan dans l'Amerique Septentrionale, one of the most influential and fanciful works of its time. The map depicts the Longue flowing from the mountains in the west (Rocky Mountains), home to the Gnacsitares Indians and connecting to the Mississippi River. On the western side of the mountains is another river, presumably flowing into the Pacific, quite possibly an anectdotal reference to the Columbia River, which Lahontan may have learned about from the Indians.

Louis Armand, Baron de Lahontan, a notorious French adventurer and fraudster, claimed to have discovered this waterway in the 1690s. His remarkable depiction of the 'Long River' was adopted by most of the leading mapmakers of the time, including Guillaume de L'Isle, the mapmaker to Louis XIV and Herman Moll, one of London's leading mapmakers, thus perpetuating the myth.

The first edition of the map lacks the longitudinal scale at the top. A number of later editions were issued, most of which are on a much smaller scale.

Reference
Howes, W. L-25; cf Karpinski, L.C. (MI) XL; cf Schwartz & Ehrenberg p.137, pl.81; Kershaw, K.A. 298; Verner & Stuart-Stubbs #20; Lemmon, Magill & Wiese #14; Buisseret, D. (French Amer) #11.