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The 1783 Edition of the First Printed Map to Name the United States (Etats-Unis)

Nice example of Esnauts & Rapilly's landmark American map, first published in 1779 and generally regarded as the first map to name the United States.

This map and Lattre's map are considered the two earliest maps to use the name Etats-Unis (United States) in the title of the map.

The map delineates United States in the midst of the American Revolution, but shows a very unusual "Floride Occidente," which extends north to the mountains of North Carolina, claiming all of the future Mississippi and Alabama as part of West Florida. The region between the Mississippi and Appalachians, south of the Great Lakes, remains filled with French Forts.

A note along the Mississippi River, just south of the mouth of the Missouri River, a note reads:

Missi-sipi F qui sert de bornes aux Dominations Espagnoles et Anglo-Américaine

(Mississippi River which serves as the limits to the Spanish and Anglo-American Dominations).

West of the Great Lakes and Lac Ouinipigon (Winnipeg), the River of the West is still shown, extending toward Drake's Nouvelle Albion, with Quivia and the R. Colorado de las Martyrs shown further south.  The west coast is a mix of mythical discoveries (De Font/Fuente, Juan de Fuca and Martin d'Aguilar) and the Russian discoveries.   The source of the Rio Grande River, to the north of Taos, is described as unknown.

The route of Captain James Cook in 1778 is shown, reaching the Northwest Coast in 1778 and proceeding north into the regions discovered by the Russians.  Further south, the route of the Manila Galleon Trade is shown along the coast of California, touching on Cabo San Lucas, before ending with Acapulco.

Highly detailed allegorical cartouche shows America nurturing two Putti, with allegorical scenes referencing commerce and the fur trade.

There are several editions of the map, including one dated 1783 and one dated 1796 (An VII, in the year of the French Republic).


All editions of the map are scarce.

This is the second time we have offered the 1783 edition.

Seller & Van Ee 167; Ristow pp 61-62.
Louis Brion de la Tour Biography

Louis Brion de la Tour (ca. 1743-1803) was a French geographer and demographer. Little is known about Louis’ early life, but some glimpses of his professional life survive. He did achieve the title of Ingénieur Géographe du Roi. Much of his work was done in partnership with Louis Charles Desnos, who was bookseller and geographical engineer for globes to the Danish Crown. He worked on the Indicateur fidèle ou guide des voyageurs, qui enseigne toutes les routes royales between 1762 and 1785. During his career he also worked on several atlases. By 1795, he had gained a pension from the National Assembly. Perhaps this pension was granted in part because his son, also Louis Brion de la Tour (1763-1823), was an engraver who made Revolutionary prints, as well as maps.