Amplissimae Regionis Mississipi seu Provinciae Ludovicianae…

An incredible depiction of colonial-era North America.

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This visually striking map of North America captures the breadth of European exploration and territorial claims across the continent during the early 18th century and earlier. It emphasizes the incredible journey of Franciscan missionary Louis Hennepin, referenced in the title and pictured in the decorative cartouche in the upper left. Hennepin’s route through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi River is noted within the image, along with the paths of other notable explorers like De Soto, La Salle, and St. Denis.

Place names reflect an interesting mix of Native American villages and European settlements, with the former divided into three categories (Indian dwellings, dislodged nations, and excised nations), according to the legend in the lower center. Numerous annotations provide additional contemporary information on local discoveries, historical details, and indigenous tribes. Vibrant original color distinguishes the various territorial claims of England, Spain, and France; with the Louisiana Territory featuring prominently in the center.

The political situation (as well as the geographic information) was lifted primarily from Guillaume De L’Isle’s important map of Louisiana first published in 1718. As a result, it shows a situation favorable to the French, whose claims extend west of the Appalachian Mountains to the Rio Grande (Rio del Nort).

Two cartouches are present, both heavily embellished with imagery reflective of the New World. Apart from Hennepin’s evangelization, the upper left title cartouche presents an armed soldier and naked native holding a peace pipe. Immediately below is a scene of Niagara Falls – Hennepin (while traveling with La Salle) is considered the first European to view the mighty cataract and he wrote about it extensively. Two additional native figures can be seen in the lower right cartouche, as well as a distorted view of a bison. Just above can be seen the coat of arms of the French West India Company (Ins. Gall. Societatis Indiae Occidentalis).

Published in Nuremberg by Johann Baptiste Homann around 1720.

Sources: Goss 49, Cumming 170, Wheat 144, McCorckle 720.1, University of Washington Library 

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1720

Author: Johann Baptiste Homann

Sheet Width (in): 23.00

Sheet Height (in): 19.20

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Light discoloration and wear along the centerfold. Trimmed margins and a few old archival tape repairs on the verso. Good to very good overall, with original hand color.

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