Important 17th Century Map of the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River
Nice example of Coronelli's highly important map of the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi region.
Coronelli's map is widely regarded as one of the most important maps of the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi. Based upon reports of La Salle, Hennepin, Marquette, Jolliet and other French Jesuits who were actively exploring and conducting missionary expeditions from Quebec, throughout the Great Lakes region and down the Mississippi River in the late 17th Century. The map is one of the earliest to depict the results of these early explorations and the first detailed map to focus on the region.
A number of the Jesuit Missions are noted as churches along the coastline of the Great Lakes. Fort Miamis is also noted. The Great Lakes delineation is considered the most accurate rendering of the Lakes published in the 18th Century and was the foundation for maps of the region for a number of years thereafter. Bellin's later fictitious islands in Lake Superior do not yet appear.
Included are a number of illustrations within the body of the map, showing indigenous peoples and activities. One of the Great Lakes cartographic milestones of the late 17th Century.
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most influential Italian mapmakers and was known especially for his globes and atlases. The son of a tailor, Vincenzo was apprenticed to a xylographer (a wood block engraver) at a young age. At fifteen he became a novice in a Franciscan monastery. At sixteen he published his first book, the first of 140 publications he would write in his lifetime. The order recognized his intellectual ability and saw him educated in Venice and Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology, but also studied astronomy. By the late 1670s, he was working on geography and was commissioned to create a set of globes for the Duke of Parma. These globes were five feet in diameter. The Parma globes led to Coronelli being named theologian to the Duke and receiving a bigger commission, this one from Louis XIV of France. Coronelli moved to Paris for two years to construct the King’s huge globes, which are 12.5 feet in diameter and weigh 2 tons.
The globes for the French King led to a craze for Coronelli’s work and he traveled Europe making globes for the ultra-elite. By 1705, he had returned to Venice. There, he founded the first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. He died in 1718.