One of the Most Influential American Maps of the 17th Century.
Nice old color example of Sanson's landmark map of North America. One of the most influential American maps of the 17th Century
Sanson is regarded as the founder of the 'French School' of cartography. His map of North America was the most advanced depiction of the continent in the mid-17th Century and was the source map for most subsequent maps for the next 40 years.
Sanson's map the first map to depict the Great Lakes in a recognizable form, and the first to name Lake Ontario and Lake Superior. In Sanson drew on information derived from The Jesuit Relations, published in Paris in 1649, which provided contemporary accounts of many regions of North America visited by French missionaries. His sources included Father Paul Ragueneau's account of his visit to Niagara Falls and Jean Nicollet's discovery of Lake Michigan in 1634. Montreal is named, having been founded by the Sieur de Maisonneuve in 1642.
The area delineated as "Mer Glaciale" is a reference to the Northwest Passage. On the east coast "N[ouvelle] Amsterdam" appears (New York), as does the first appearance on a printed map of "N[ouvelle] Suede," the Swedish colony centered on Fort Christina, founded on the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware in 1638.
In the Southwest, Sanson draws up the reports of the travels in New Mexico of Father Alonso Benavides Memorial, published in Madrid in 1630. It is the first printed map to label "S[anta] Fe" (incorrectly shown the Rio Grande) and the "Apache," "Navajo" and the "Taosij" (Taos) Indian regions. California is shown as a large island, based largely on Johannes de Laet's map of 1630. The region in the north called "Conibas" represents a mythical land between North America and Asia.
Sanson was the first to employ a sinusoidal projection, which was also adopted by John Flamsteed, the first Royal Astronomer appointed by the King of England.
The present example is state 3 of the map (the second obtainable state), with Lake Ontario still shaded.
Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.
Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi.
His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.