1750 (1755) Nicolas Bellin Very Scarce Large Antique Map of North America

Cartographer :Jacques Nicolas Bellin

  • Title : Carte de La Louisiane et Des Pays Voisins Dediee a M. Rouille Secretairr 'd Etat ayant le Departement de la Marine . . . 1750 . . . Sur de Nouvelle Observations on a corrigee les Lacs, et leurs Enviorns. 1755.
  • Date : 1750 (1755)
  • Size: 25in x 19 1/2in (635mm x 495mm)
  • Condition: (A) Very Good Condition
  • Ref:  35661

This large original very scarce hand coloured copper-plate engraved antique map of North America by Nicolas Bellin, in 1750 - dated - and updated in 1755, was published as a single map by Nicolas Bellin in Paris.

Extremely important, large and scarce 1755 map of North America issued at the outbreak of the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763). Centered on the vast Mississippi Valley, the map covers from the Rio Grande to the Atlantic Seaboard and from Lake Superior to the Florida Keys. While first issued in 1750, the present map has been updated considerably to represent French, English, and Spanish claims at the outbreak of the French and Indian War. Most of the most important battle sites are forts are noted, including Fort Duquesne, Fort Necessity, Fr. Le Boeuf, Fort Presqu'Isle, and Fort St. Frederic, among others.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early & later
Colors used: - Green, yellow, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 25in x 19 1/2in (635mm x 495mm)
Plate size: - 25in x 19 1/2in (635mm x 495mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - Small professional restoration in GOM
Verso: - None

The map presents the much of the modern United States as the French understood it at the outbreak of the war. Spanish territory is red, English territory is yellow, and French territory is green. The British are here restricted to the coastal lands east of the Appalachian Mountains, and bounded on the south by the Altamaha River, which forms the boundary with Spanish Florida. French Territorial claims are expansive, encompassing roughly 2/3rds of the land and controlling the most valuable waterways, including the Great Lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi. Forts, mission settlements, mines, and trading posts dot the Mississippi Valley, but in truth, most of these were, by this time, only loosely manned or altogether abandoned - hardly an argument for effective occupation.
This map features a wealth of cartographic information drawn in part from the Guilaume de L'Isle map of 1718, but has been expanded considerably with new information from the the Chaussegros de Lery manuscripts and Pierre-Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix s Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France. Of note is the curious mountain range running through Michigan.
The inclusion of Fort Necessity is significant, as it suggests this map was issued just months after the construction of the fort and George Washington's disastrous defeat there. It underscores how quickly information moved - even through the outback of the New World and active war. For this map to have been made, news of the events, as well as cartographic reconnaissance, would have had to move rapidly from Fort Duquesne, down the Ohio River, then down the full length of the Mississippi, then across the Atlantic to Paris. There Bellin would have had to study the work, reconcile it with his older maps, update and re-engrave them accordingly, and then get the map to the presses for distribution. The whole is a remarkable accomplishment, but may explain somewhat this maps scarcity, as in a short time, much of the data he would be irreverent.
The map is dedicated to Antoine-Louis Rouillé, comte de Jouy (1689 - 1761). Rouillé replaced Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, 1st Count of Maurepas (1701 - 1781), Bellin's former patron, as Secretary of State for the Navy (Ministère de la Marine) on July 24, 1754, just in time for the French and Indian War. Bellin, who worked under the Navy Department, would have been highly motivated to engender Rouillé patronage and good well, making the dedication unsurprising.
The map was separately published in Paris, France by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin. It is dedicated to M. Rouillé. It represents the second state of the map, 1755, issued during the French and Indian War. Examples are extremely scarce. We have identified only three examples, including this map, in the last 20 years of market history. The map is further not identified in Cumming, Karpinski, Ehrenberg, or Phillips. The OCLC notes examples in 8 institutions, but upon closer inspection many of these appear to be digital resources and do not represent any actual holdings.

Please note all items auctioned are genuine, we do not sell reproductions. A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) can be issued on request.