Bellin, Carte du Detroit entre le Lac Supérieur et le Lac Huron...
Published 1744, Paris
Size: 8.5" X 6.25"
An important map depicting the strait between Lake Superior and Lake Huron that includes the Fort Sauvage at Sault Ste. Marie and Michillimakinac at the entrance of the strait between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, the pre-eminent cartographer of the 18th Century. This map was published in François Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France in 1744 which depicted some of the earliest maps and city plans of the New France colony. 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 comprised an important fur trading area, especially at Michilimackinac near one of the oldest missions located at St. Ignace that was explored in 1720 by Charlevoix on behalf of the Jesuit order .
It should be noted that with the eventual fall of Quebec City in 1759, a three pronged attack under the command of Lord Jeffrey Amherst commenced to capture Montreal from the St-Lawrence as well as from the South by way of Lake Champlain. The British victory on the Plains of Abraham outside of the city’s fortification on September 8th 1760 would thus lead to the fall of France’s North American Empire including the important fur trading posts and forts found in the Great Lakes region and remove any European impediment emanating from the North to the Westward expansion in Britain’s North American colonies.
Bellin’s fascinating map of the the straits between Lake Huron and Lake Superior and between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan at the apogee of France’s North American empire is thus a great reminder of the strategic importance that the region had both militarily and economically in the early days of European colonization.
(Sources: Kershaw 945)