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Chatelain's Edition of the First Important 18th Century Map of Canada & The Great Lakes

Nice example of Chatelain's edition of De L'Isle's seminal map of Canada, the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest, first issued in 1703.

Chatelain's map of Canada and the Great Lakes was the first printed map to locate Detroit, first issued only 2 years after the founding of the Village by Cadillac. De L'Isle studied at the French Maritime Ministry from 1700 to 1703, during which time he took extensive notes on the work of the Jesuit Missionaries, including Franquelin, Jolliet and others. Karpinksi notes that the fruits of De L'Isle's substantial efforts are born out by the great improvements in the mapping of the 5 Great Lakes and other parts of the map.

The map is one of the most important maps of Canada printed during its time, and was included in Chatelain's Atlas Historique. Numerous trading posts and missions in New France and the major towns of the adjacent British colonies are shown. The area around Hudson's Bay is inhabited by native tribes referred to as the "Christinaux or Kilistinons," while Labrador is home to the "Eskimaux." Many places note the native names given to the area.

The map features a number of notes specifically referring to the names of explorers and the dates in which they discovered certain places, such as the reference to 'Nouveau Danemarc', discovered by the Danish explorer, Jan Munk, in 1619. The depiction of the upper Mississippi and Ohio basins is also quite detailed, noting the French fort of 'St. Louis' or 'Crevecouer' near the present-day site of Peoria, Illinois. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the map is its portrayal of the "Riviere Longue," one of the most sensational and enduring cartographic misconceptions ever devised. This mythical river was reported to flow from the 'Pays des Gnacsitares' in the far west, promising the best route through the interior of the continent, supposedly placing one within close reach of the Pacific Ocean. It is a product of the imagination of the Baron Lahontan, a French adventurer, whose best-selling travel narrative Nouveaux voyages dans l'Amérique septentrionale (1703), convinced many of the world's greatest intellects of the existence of this mythical waterway. The text, 'Remarque Historique' that fills the northwestern part of the map describes the history of New France from the days of Jacques Cartier to contemporary times.

Beautifully written French notes adorn the map. To the far west, Chatelain notes the "land of the Mozembleks, a polite people." Includes the extensive notes on the supposed "Riviere Longue."

Henri Chatelain Biography

Henri Abraham Chatelain (1684-1743) was a Huguenot pastor of Parisian origins. Chatelain proved a successful businessman, creating lucrative networks in London, The Hague, and then Amsterdam. He is most well known for the Atlas Historique, published in seven volumes between 1705 and 1720. This encyclopedic work was devoted to the history and genealogy of the continents, discussing such topics as geography, cosmography, topography, heraldry, and ethnography. Published thanks to a partnership between Henri, his father, Zacharie, and his younger brother, also Zacharie, the text was contributed to by Nicolas Gueudeville, a French geographer. The maps were by Henri, largely after the work of Guillaume Delisle, and they offered the general reader a window into the emerging world of the eighteenth century.