La Louisiana parte Settentrionalle...
An important map of the Great Lakes region by one of the 17th century’s most talented cartographers. Vincenzo Coronelli’s much sought after map of the Great Lakes was first published in the second edition of his Atlante Veneto in 1695 and is a reduction of Jean Baptiste Nolin’s Partie Occidentale du Canada ou de la Nouvelle France of c. 1687.
As such, it has been argued by Burden that “the Coronelli-Nolin depicted the Great Lakes in their most accurate form yet.” Burden goes on to argue that the map is “the finest portrayal since Nicolas Sanson’s Amerique Septentrionale” published in 1650. Improvements to Sanson’s depiction resulted from first hand accounts by such renown explorers to the region as Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette and Louis Hennepin.
It is important to note that the R. de Chekagou and F. de Chekogo which would go on to become the important city of Chicago, makes its first cartographic debut on the maps of Coronelli-Nollin.
The map is also of interest as it is the first depiction to correctly delineate Lake Erie’s three peninsula on its North shore.
That being said, Coronelli’s reduction of the Coronelli-Nolin map of 1687 is also know for what it omits. Coronelli excludes all the alterations of the later states of the map and reduces the scope of the portrayal of the region. Nevertheless, Coronelli’s map is deemed to be the earliest obtainable map specific to the Great Lakes and is thus a cornerstone to any collection in the cartography of the region.
The work of Coronelli is often deemed important not only for its stylistic virtuosity but also for his depiction of the world using the most up to date information. As such, Coronelli’s talent was first witnessed when he constructed a globe 5 feet in diameter for the Duke of Parma in 1678. This work would lead to his being commissioned by Louis XIV to construct a pair of globes in 1681. This commission would allow him access to important cartographic information from french explorers especially those concerning New France and North America in general. With the completion of these globes, Coronelli’s reputation was cemented, and demand grew for his work.
After his return from France, Coronelli founded the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti, in 1684, the world’s first geographic society, whose function, it is said, was to promote his works. Collaboration between Coronelli and Nolin followed soon after with the signing of a contract between them in August 1686 from which eventually led to this rare and important map of the Great Lakes.
(Sources: Burden 701, Kershaw 163)