Carte de l'isle de Montreal et de ses environs...
Size: 12" X 10"
An important map of the city of Montreal by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, the pre-eminent cartographer of the 18th Century. The map was originally published in François Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France in 1744. It has been argued that Charlevoix's history proved exceptionally influential as one of the most comprehensive works on North America predating the Seven Year’s War in 1756-63. As such, this map would have been of particular interest to Europeans as it depicted Montreal, arguably the most important fortified city in New France at the time. Montreal was also of great importance as it acted as the launching point to the interior of the North American continent for the fur trade via Fort de la Chine near Sault St-Louis. It is also important to note that Montreal was also the local where the illegal trade in furs occurred between French , Dutch and English merchants.
It should be noted that only two other city plans existed prior to Bellin’s map of Montreal; Bacqueville de la Potherie’s Carte du Gouvernement du Montreal in 1722, and Moullart Sanson’s Plan de la Ville de Montreal in 1723.
As such, Bellin’s influential map of this important city of New France, which was now the military headquarters of French forces in North America, was re-issued to give context at the onset of the Seven Year’s War by Arkstee & Merkus’ Allgemeine Historie der Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande in 1756 and again in 1764 at the conclusion of the conflict by Raspe in Schau Platz des gegenwaertigen Kreigs.
Bellin’s fascinating map of Montreal is thus a great reminder of the strategic importance that this city had both militarily and economically in the early days of European colonization.
(Sources: Kershaw 845)