Full color of Homann's map of the Course of the Mississippi River, based upon the reports of Hennepin, who explored the upper Mississippi and Great Lakes regions as a Jesuit Missionary in the late 1600s.
The map follows the work of De L’Isle in his seminal map covering the same region. The Mississippi is oddly misprojected, with the Ohio and several other rivers splitting to the east and tracking near a vignette showing Indians hunting long-horn buffalo.
The western rivers, including the Missouri, are equally inaccurate. The map shows a number of explorers’ routes throughout the southwest and Louisiana and annotations regarding various regions. Many Indian Tribes and early forts named. Florida is an archipelago. Nice detail in Texas.
The title cartouche shows Father Hennepin with allegorical figures depicting his exploration of the New World.. The vignette shows an early representation of an American bison flanked by Indians.
Homann’s “Louisiana Province” is one of the most attractive early maps of the American interior, as well as being politically provocative. The map illustrates the eastern half of the future United States, focusing on the region called “La Louisiane,” control of which was actively contested by Spain and France throughout the 1700s.
Homann’s maps is drawn from Guillaume De L'Isle’s seminal Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi of 1718. Delisle’s labeling of the territory west of the Appalachians as La Louisiane assumed a French proprietorship that provoked angry protests from the Spanish and British governments. Homann repeated the label on the present map, thus perpetuating a cartographic battle in which the mapmakers of each country issued publications showing their preferences toward political claims.
The map includes a very early form of the word Texas, seen in the legend reading Mission de las Teyas, etablie en 1716 near present-day San Antonio. Routes of early explorers are shown and dated, with the locations of Indian tribes and of many early settlements.
Homann dedicated the map to the French priest Louis Hennepin, who explored the Great Lakes regions and claimed to have reached the mouth of the Mississippi River. The dedication is actually a reinforcement of French proprietorship of the Louisiana region.
One of the most interesting and decorative regional maps of America from the period.
Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was a mapmaker who founded the famous Homann Heirs publishing company. He lived his entire life in Bavaria, particularly in Nuremberg. Initially, Johann trained to become a priest before converting to Protestantism and working as a notary.
In 1702, Johann founded a publishing house that specialized in engravings. The firm flourished, becoming the leading map publisher in Germany and an important entity in the European map market. In 1715, Johann was named Imperial Geographer to the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VI and made a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Most importantly for his business, his reputation and contacts gained him imperial printing privileges which protected his publications and recommended him to customers. Johann is best known for this Grosser Atlas ueber die ganze Welt, or the Grand Atlas of the World, published in 1716.
After Johann died in 1724, the business passed to his son, Christoph (1703-1730). Upon Christoph’s early death, the company passed to subsequent heirs, with the name of the company changing to Homann Erben, or Homann Heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.