A fascinating map of North America, based upon a map by Thomas Engel.
Engel's map of North America was issued in his Memoires Observations Geographiques in 1765, and provides a fascinating look at the watercourses across North America, with no less than 4 rivers reaching from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains and one nearly to the Mississippi, commencing near Puget Sound. Baron La Hontan's mythical River of the West is shown with only a short portage from L. de Tahuglanks across the Rockies to the source of the Mississippi. Two other rivers begin north of the Bering Strait and feed the mythical Lake Conibas popularized by Wytfliet in 1597, with Lake Michinipi, passing over top of the Rockies.
While no Northwest Passage is shown, the prospect is not foreclosed. The mid-American watercourses are no less interesting, with The Missouri, Mississippi and R. Rouge badly misprojected, but very much in evidence. The maps were issued following a long period of French/Jesuit exploration commencing with La Salle, Jolliet, Franquelin, Hennepin and La Hontan in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries and continuing with the systematic search reflected in the maps of Verendrye and others searching for the watercourse between the Mississippi and the Pacific. Wheat notes that among other interesting features, the entire west is labeled Allies de Sioux, undoubtedly a Jesuit observation.
Didier Robert de Vaugondy (ca. 1723-1786) was the son of prominent geographer Gilles Robert de Vaugondy and Didier carried on his father’s impressive work. Together, they published their best-known work, the Atlas Universel (1757). The atlas took fifteen years to create and was released in a folio and ¾ folio edition; both are rare and highly sought-after today. Together and individually, father and son were known for their exactitude and depth of research.
Like his father, Didier served as geographer to King Louis XV. He was especially recognized for his skills in globe making; for example, a pair of his globes made for the Marquise de Pompadour are today in the collection of the Municipal Museum of Chartres. Didier was also the geographer to the Duke of Lorraine. In 1773, he was appointed royal censor in charge of monitoring the information published in geography texts, navigational tracts, and travel accounts.