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Early Depiction of the Mississippi and Great Lakes
The First State

Great Lakes/ Mississippi Valley. HENNEPIN, L. [Utrecht, 1697]
Carte d’un tres grand Pais Nouvellement decouvert dans L’Amerique Septentrionale . . . . 14 ¾ x 17 ½ inches.
Fine hand color; reinforced at junctures of some folds, else an excellent example with a superb impression.


First state of this key map revealing French territorial ambitions in North America. “The Hennepin delineations of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are remarkable improvements upon the Sanson maps.” (Karpinski) Hennepin was an important participant in the initial European penetration of the western Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, having accompanied La Salle in the exploration of the upper Mississippi Valley. Moreover, Hennepin’s published accounts of these activities were extremely popular and had the effect of alerting other nations to French activities in the American interior. However, Hennepin’s reputation has been stained by his wild exaggeration of his role in these explorations; he claimed, for example, that it was he, not La Salle, who discovered the mouth of the Mississippi.

*Karpinski, L. Maps of Famous Cartographers, p. 100; Kaufman, K. Mapping of the Great Lakes in the 17th Century, no. 18; Burden 739.

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