Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi
De Lisle, Guillaume, 1675-1726 (Cartographer)
Paris : Guillaume DeLisle, Quai de l'Horloge
Date created
Type of resource
Still image
Maps (documents)
Historical maps
Map/Globe, Image
Digital origin
reformatted digital
This is the most famous map by celebrated French cartographer Guillaume De Lisle. The accuracy of De Lisle's cartography accounts for its primacy, as he obtained his information directly from French explorers. One of the first printed maps to name Texas, it was a seminal depiction of the Mississippi that was enormously influential on subsequent cartography of the region. Indeed, Kohl states this is the mother and main source of all later maps of the Mississippi. This map was the first to reflect accurately the routes of Hernando de Soto, Henry de Tonty, and Louis de St. Denis. Because of its accurate information on the Mississippi and its tributaries, this map served throughout the eighteenth century as the prototype for most subsequent renderings of that great river.
It was, moreover, a politically provocative and aggressive map: what De Lisle labeled Florida in 1703 now appeared as the unmistakably French territory of Louisiana, stretching from the Rio Grande in the west to the Appalachians in the east. De Lisle also pushed the boundary line of the English colonies closer to the Atlantic. Angry protests from the British and Spanish governments against this cartographic usurpation were followed by a cartographic war, in which the map makers of each country issued productions showing their own territorial claims.
Politics aside, De Lisle's rendering of Texas was a distinct improvement over previously published attempts. It featured an improved depiction of the river system and a much more accurate view of the coast. It also credibly delineated for the first time the land routes of all of the important explorers, including de Soto and Moscoso in 1540 and 1542, La Salle in 1687, and de Leon in 1689. De Lisle's sources were also clearly revealed by the many references to St. Denis's explorations; the currency of his information was evident from the appearance of Natchitoches on the Red River, founded only the year before the map was printed. Throughout the map are the ranges of many Indian tribes and the locations of their villages, while boldly displayed along the Texas coast is the legend 'nomadic and man-eating Indians.' The most important notation to Texas history, however, was that appearing along the Trinity: 'Mission de los Tiejas, etablie in 1716.' Referring to the earliest of the Spanish missions in East Texas, this phrase marked the first appearance of a form of the name Texas on a printed map and thus De Lisle has received proper credit for establishing Texas as a geographic place name. This is an exceptionally important map for the cartography of the Mississippi, Texas, and the South.
The Abstract/Description provided for this map is taken from an accompanying gallery schedule.
Related item
Early American and European Maps
Subjects and keywords
Early American Maps
Mississippi River
Mexico, Gulf of
Mobile River (Ala.)
Mobile Bay (Ala.)
Permanent URL


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