Description: Antique map titled 'Partie Occidentale du Canada'. A fine example of Rigobert Bonne and Guilleme Raynal's 1780 map of the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi Valley. A map of considerable importance, this chart was constructed during a period of aggressive exploration into this region. Explorers, seeking a 'westward passage' to the Pacific, believed an inland water route was not only reasonable, but highly likely. With no concept that the vast barrier of the Rocky Mountains stood in their way, they mapped out the likely courses for this route, as depicted on this map. They believed one could pass through the Great Lakes and, roughly following the current US-Canada border, pass upriver to Rainey Lake (L. Tecamamiouen)and then, through another River, to the Lake of the Woods (Lac des Bois), then, via another river, to (though it does not appear on this map) Lake Winnipeg. Here the water route westward ends - though at the time they didn't know it. Throughout this map, Bonne attempts to document rivers, mountains, forts, and American Indian tribes and villages with the most recent data obtainable. He identifies the lands of the Sioux, the Iroquois (Five Nations), the Algonquians, the Illinois, and many others. Chicago (Chicagou) and Detroit both appear as forts. The Great Lakes are mapped with a rough approximation of accuracy, though Lake Superior does include a number of apocryphal islands including I. Ponchartrain and I. Minong (also known as Phillipeaux). These islands first appeared Bellin's mapping of the region in 1750s and continued to appear until the 1820s. Also of note are the possible headwaters of the Mississippi, which the map describes as 'La Source en est inconnue.' This map originates from 'Atlas de toutes les parties connues du globe terrestre, dressé Pour l'Histoire Philosophique et Politique des établissements et du Commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes' by G. Raynal.
Artists and Engravers: Rigobert Bonne (1727-1795 ) was one of the most important cartographers of the late 18th century. In 1773 he succeeded Jacques Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity Bonne compiled some of the most detailed and accurate maps of the period. Bonne's work represents an important step in the evolution of the cartographic ideology away from the decorative work of the 17th and early 18th century towards a more detail oriented and practical aesthetic. With regard to the rendering of terrain Bonne maps bear many stylistic similarities to those of his predecessor, Bellin. However, Bonne maps generally abandon such common 18th century decorative features such as hand coloring, elaborate decorative cartouches, and compass roses. While mostly focusing on coastal regions, the work of Bonne is highly regarded for its detail, historical importance, and overall aesthetic appeal.
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