|Description: We offer a scarce 1755 French map of the Eastern half of North America, mainly the Louisiana territory, by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin. This copperplate engraving is on laid paper that measures 19 ⅛” x 24 ⅜”. It was compiled in part from the Chaussegros de Lery manuscripts and produced for Charlevoix’s Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France. Item #PR00304.
The map is crammed with early settler information, military forts and indigenous territories, as well as an imagined mountain range in Michigan (contrary to Bellin’s reputation for accuracy). The far left of the map is poetically labeled “Vaste Pays Entierement Inconus” or “Vast Country Entirely Unknown.” There is some subtle, original hand-coloring of European territorial boundaries. Carte de La Louisiane is one of Bellin’s most famous and sought after achievements in cartography.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was a talented map maker, who was a hydrographer to the French Navy at age 18. By 1741 he was the official hydrographer to the King. As a true scholar and researcher, he was also one of the Encyclopédistes, a group of 18th century intellectuals in France who compiled the 35-volume Encyclopédie which was edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Bellin contributed 994 articles.
Condition: The map shows a thin coating of adhesive on verso that, fortunately, shows no signs of telegraphing to the face (likely from an early framing preparation). There is a faint ½” stain at the lower middle margin, and some very minor wear to the edges of the paper. It retains the original centerfold and is in good condition overall.