Carte du Mississippi Depuis sa Source jusqu’a L’Embouchure de Missouri…


French edition of King’s important map of the Mississippi River.

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In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson authorized the first U.S. government-sponsored expedition to explore the southern and western portions of the newly-acquired Louisiana Territory. James Wilkinson, the territorial governor, assigned the task to Lieutenant Zebulon Pike (he was soon promoted to captain). Joined by twenty other men, the group of twenty men set out from Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis to map the territory, make contact with indigenous tribes, and find the source of the Red River.

They traveled through modern-day Kansas and Nebraska before arriving in Colorado and discovering Pike’s namesake peak. When returning through New Mexico, an unfortunate encounter with the Spanish led to the group’s imprisonment and a long march through Texas before being released in July of 1807, almost a full year after departing. Pike wrote and published an account of his epic travels in 1810 and its subsequent popularity saw several editions issued in German, French, and Dutch.

This map of the Mississippi River was originally issued in a French edition that was published in Paris in 1812. It covers the course of ‘The Father of Waters’ between Lake Winnipeg and St. Louis and includes several points related to Pike’s explorations, as well as the discoveries made by Lewis & Clark. Native American tribes and geographic features are labeled throughout and several annotations provide additional context. According to scholar Bob Holland;

“Using Pike’s field notes and sketch maps, Wilkinson’s cartographer Antoine Nau compiled an oversized four-sheet manuscript map of the Upper Mississippi River, which, as seen here, was reduced and redrawn by Nicholas King. The map is generally limited to the area along Pike’s route up the Mississippi, although the Des Moines River and its tributaries are also depicted (as based on information Pike obtained from traders). Four trading posts built by the Mackinac Fur Trading Company are shown along the river, confirmation of British influence among the Fox and Sauk Indians in the region. Pike’s winter stockade is located, as well as the land grant Pike obtained from the Dakota.”

Sources: Holland p. 106, Wheat #297-298; Schwartz & Ehrenberg p.224, Wagner-Camp #9:3

Map Details

Publication Date: 1812

Author: Nicholas King

Sheet Width (in): 29.9

Sheet Height (in): 11.25

Condition: A-

Condition Description: The sheet shows minor toning, light soiling, and wear along originally issued fold lines; consistent with age. A bit of scattered soiling visible in the margins and a small 1" tear in the lower right has been repaired on the verso with archival tape. Very good overall.


1 in stock