1650-1700 Map Library
Scrolling Library With High-Res links.


Rewriting the Earliest Cartographic History
of the Heartland of North America

START  The Louis Jolliet Map is not a valid 17th century document.

I've loved doing this work since I began in 1997. Numerous maps have been identified with misattributed authorships and/or dates. 

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter
for the Chicago Tribune, the late William Mullen:

       Carl and I have communicated numerous times about this research, by phone, email, and in person. Between assignments for the Chicago Tribune, I've been carefully reviewing 17 nth century documents and what later historians have had to say about them - at times in consultation with Professor Weber.
     Using his core work in this area, my intention is to publish a piece about French colonial America, inquiring into some of the inaccuracies that have long been considered established fact regarding the foundational histories of the regions of the Mississippi Valley, the Illinois Valley and the Chicago area. In my evaluation, and in that of some distinguished experts, his pursuit of historical truth has resulted in some very unusual discoveries. They will merit some basic revisions in the historical record.


Louis Jolliet's Map is not a valid 17th century document created by Jolliet. Archived at the John Carter Brown University Library, it is not an authentic 17th Century document. Through cartographic comparisons, it shows features massively copied from several legitimately 17th Century Maps. This map was "discovered" into history in 1879. Immediate claims for its validity were made (and continue to be made) that it is an original 17th century map created by Jolliet. Evidence clearly shows this is not true.


  LaSalle Map identified. The only LaSalle map, 1683, now identified as such. Formerly, this map was misattributed and incorrectly dated. The first map with the Chicago-word on it. Shows LaSalle's ideas shaped by 1670-published French translation of DeSoto Narrative.
  Lake Superior (or Tracy) Map previously misattributed.
This map, since the 1670s, attributed to two anonymous missionaries in a contemporaneous publication. Evidence shows that the much more likely source was Hughes Randin, the cartography/engineer of the Canadian Government.
  Marquette Map, not authentic, alsocalled St. Mary's Map, Holograph Map, Montreal Map, Real Map. The map was "discovered" in 1844. There was no record of this map in the Ancien RĂ©gime. In 1959, Francis Borgia Steck noted that Marquette's own Mission, which should have been at Letter C, is not on the map. The three sides of an octagon shape, at Letter A, of the Illinois River, appeared on no professional/official map for a century-and-a-half after Marquette's time, when it appeared on maps by John Mellish. The "elbowing out" of the Mississippi River at Letter B., appeared on no map until the Delisle map of 1703.

ayer 48 2


Ayer-48 Related Maps. Never to have been properly identified as such, the original of this map was sent by the Governor of Canada to the King of France in late 1674 as "intelligence" for the Court — the first news of the discoveries of Jolliet and LaSalle. Attributing this map to Jolliet, or Franquelin, or both, falls short of taking in all the historical data.


Jolliet  two maps never before published.
One of these maps is arguably the first map that Jolliet drew after he supposedly lost his original 1673 Mississippi Expedition papers in the St. Laurence River. The map presented above, in the "Great Jolliet Map Hoax," can no longer stand as the "first map" after Jolliet's return, as maintained by academics.
  Ellington Stone. Identified by me as the earliest European artifact in the North American Interior. The Ellington Stone, with inscribed date 1671, found at Quincy Illinois about 1900, is given a historical context. Is tentatively associated with text in Jesuit Relations, and with the Lake Superior and the Thevenot Maps. Revises "earliest" date of Europeans at Mississippi by two years. The late Leroy Politsch, of Quincy Illinois, who became my good friend, was the "Keeper of the Lore and Legend of the Ellington Stone" for 50 years.
  Thevenot Map, the 1681-published map that until 1844 was attributed to Jacques Marquette. Academics, only guessing, haven't had any cofidence about this map. On my part, the map is arguably associated with the 1671 Ellington Stone, the Lake Superior Map, and a clandestine expedition made by the missionaries that year, accompanied by Jolliet. Somewhat conjectural, but the pieces fit. The map might thus properly be dated 1671, notwithstanding published in 1681..
  Raffeix Map: another inauthentic Missionary Map. Latitudes of Mississippi River Tributaries plagiarized by missionaries from Ayer 48-Related Map. Date of Raffeix creation revised to post-1683.





1684 Jean Louis Baptiste Franquelin, Harvard Archived Map of Louisiana. This is the copy made under Francis Parkman in the mid-1800s of the now-lost original (6' by 4').

1684 Jean Louis Baptiste Franquelin, Jesuite Relations edition, copy of Harvard edition. Published c. 1900.

1684 Jean Louis Baptiste Franquelin, copy of above Jesuite Relations edition, rendering by me, 2001.

1686 Jean Louis Baptiste Franquelin, Louisiana

1688 Jean Louis Baptiste Franquelin, Louisiana

The 1684 map shows for the first time, on an official map, the incorporation of the vast Original Louisiana into the European Dominion. LaSalle had sailed with Franquelin in late 1683 to France to prepare the map for the King. The significant interior geography was the result of LaSalle's discoveries, as seen on the 1683 LaSalle Map, previously known as the 1685 Minet Map.



    Camel Maps. Two maps with camels (as Jolliet said were observed) on them. These "Camel Maps" never before "paired up," are tentatively explained with revised dating.


    1670 Publication of translation of DeSoto Narrative. This book shifted the focus of "exploration consciousness" from the South Sea (Pacific Ocean) as a goal, to the Gulf of Mexico of the DeSoto Expediton (1539-43).
    The Jolliet Map — More Considerations. More on Jolliet. French documents w/translations regarding Jolliet's commission for 1673 Mississippi expedition; his findings after expedition; documents of his 1680 reward for voyages; maps incorrectly attributed to Jolliet; the relatively small area Jolliet discovered ("La Frontenacie").

1650-1700 Map Library
Scroll Map Library With High-Res Links.

Carl J. Weber, Music by Ray Lynch.





Thumbnail Quicklinks

1650 Sanson, North
America link

1675 Ayer 48 Bernou link 1684 Franquelin, North America link
1656 Sanson New
Mexico and Florida link
1674 Ayer 48 Anonymous link

1686 Franquelin, North America link

1669 Galinee, Great Lakes link

1674 Jolliet/Brown (1880s Fake) link

1688 Franquelin, North America link
1671 Lake Superior, arguably
by Hughes Randin, link
1674 Camel Map 1 link

1688 Coronelli link

1671 Manitoumie link 1674 North America, Sanson-Jaillot link 1688 Coronelli Gore link
1681 Thevenot, Mississippi Valley link 1675 Camel Map 2 link 1691 LeClerq, North America link
1671 Ellington Stone 1683 Minet/LaSalle, Original link 1698 Hennepin, New World link
1674 Marquette Map (19th Century Fake) link 1683 Minet/LaSalle Map Weber Enhanced link, 1700 Codex Canadiensis link
1674 Marquette Map (19th Century Fake), Printed in J.G.Shea, 1852 link

1683 Hennepin, North America link

1674 Jolliet/Randin link 1675 Anonymous Misssionary Fake link    

1674 Randin, North America link

1683 Bernou (?), North America link    
1674 Randin, North America link 1683 Raffeix, not authentic, latitudes plagiarized from Ayer 48 type link    
1675 Ayer 48 Final, North America link

1684 Jolliet, Hudson Bay link