By: Jacques Nicolas Bellin / Homann Heirs
Date: 1755 (dated) Nuremberg
Original Size: 16.75 x 21.25 inches (42.5 x 54 cm)
An exceptional and influential map of the Great Lakes region during the time of French colonial possession. Originally engraved by Jaques Bellin in 1745, the plate for this map was acquired and re-issued by Johann Baptist Homann in 1755 in response to European interest in the French and Indian War which started one year earlier in 1754.
The map integrates the work of French fur trader and Explorer Sieur la Verendrye and the explorer / missionary Father Pierre de Charlevoix. From Verendrye's journals came the placement of numerous indian villages and nations as well as some of the form of the Great Lakes and their attached river systems. Charlevoix can be referred to as the origin for the fictitious Lake Superior islands, Phillipeaux, Pontchartrain, and St. Anne. This was the first of many maps to include the famous ghost islands of Lake Superior which perplexed explorers for nearly 100 years.
Throughout the map are numerous French forts and missions including Fort Frontenac, Fort Niagara, Mission Francois Xavier, and Port de Checagou, which is now the site of present day Chicago. The lower right hand section of this map displays a common ploy used to flatter his royal patrons in Paris. The proportional size of the English colonial holdings in New York, Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are reduced in an attempt to metaphorically advance the supremacy of French control in North America.