Nicolas King's Seminal Map of the Mississippi River, based upon the observations of Zebulon Pike, Lewis & Clark, and others .
A remarkably important compilation of information, which includes information from the Lewis & Clark expedition which pre-dates the release of their official account and map of the Expedition.
The map accompanied the first American edition of Zebulon Pike's An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi . . . . In preparing the map, Nicholas King has brought together the best available sources from prior to the expeditions of Pike and Lewis & Clark, and added information furnished by Lewis and David Thompson (whose map for the Hudson Bay Company in 1798 is one of the most important pre-Lewis & Clark source maps).
The map was drawn by Nicholas King, whose post Lewis & Clark manuscript maps are among earliest and most important to incorporate Lewis's reports. Pike's map, unlike Humboldt's, was based primarily on firsthand reconnaissance, an element always present in the progress of geographic knowledge of the American West.
Nicholas King was Surveyor for the City of Washington, and unofficial cartographer to the Jefferson Administration (1800-1808). King prepared a series of maps at the request of Jefferson's War Department, which represent "the earliest accurate geographical information of the west" (Ehrenberg). These were compiled from the notes and field sketches made by exploring parties sent out by Jefferson to investigate the vast region west of the Mississippi River following the Louisiana Purchase. The most famous of King's maps are the preliminary manuscripts he made of Lewis and Clark's discoveries, and the engraved maps for publication in Zebulon Pike's journal. He was also responsible for the suppressed maps of the Red River associated with the Freeman & Custis Expedition of 1806 and the Map of the Washita river in Louisiana from the Hot Springs to the confluence of the Red River with the Mississippi, from the Hunter & Dunbar Expedition of 1804.