Rare first state of Christoph Weigel's edition of De L'Isle's map of French Louisiana.
The map is based on De L'Isle's seminal map of the French possession of Louisiana that drew together the cartographic work of the previous half century. It presents a detailed view of the Gulf region and the Mississippi, and the exploration routes of De Soto, Cavelier, Tonty, Moscoso and Denis. Numerous forts including Mission de los Teijas are shown throughout.
The vignette shows a scene which includes Scottish financier John Law. John Law (1671-1729), is best known for his role in establishing the Banque Générale in France in 1715 and founding the Compagnie de l'Occident for the exploitation of the resources of French Louisiana after Antoine Crozat had surrendered his charter in 1717. Initially, Law's reputation caused the stock in the Compagnie de l'Occident to sell readily, and the organization soon enlarged the scope of its activities by absorbing other commercial companies, its name than being changed to the 'Company of the Indies'. Enormous profits were anticipated and the increasing demand for its stock led to wild speculation. The anticipated immense and immediate profits were not realized, and soon the scheme revealed itself as a purely speculative venture. In 1720 the company failed, the bubble burst, and the stockholders lost their entire investment, many being completely ruined, leaving the French nation on the verge of bankruptcy.
States / Rarity
There are two states of the map:
- State 1: Lacking New Orleans and the privilege in the cartouche
- State 2: New Orleans and privilege included
State 1 is rare on the market. The only recorded example in a public collection is in the Royal Library of Copenhagen.