Map of the New Discovery Made by the Jesuit Fathers in 1672 and Continued by Father Jacques Marquette, from the Same Group, Accompanied by a Few Frenchmen in the Year 1673, Named “Manitounie”


In May−July 1673 the French cartographer and explorer Louis Jolliet (1645−1700) and the Jesuit priest Father Jacques Marquette (1637−75) were the first Europeans to descend the Mississippi River from the region of the Great Lakes to its confluence with the Arkansas River. Their goal was to locate a passage to the Pacific Ocean. They soon noticed, however, that the Mississippi ran south in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico rather than west to the Pacific. They suspended their journey in present-day Arkansas, after the Quapaw Indians warned them that farther south were Spanish colonists. This map indicates where they stopped, as well as iron and copper mines, the prairies inhabited by vast numbers of boeufs sauvages (bison), which are depicted in two crude drawings, and portages. Jolliet and Marquette called the region Manitounie, a Native American term referring to manitous (Indian spirits). The map is oriented with north on the right. It shows the entire region from Lake Michigan (also called Lake Illinois) to the Gulf of Mexico. Various Indian tribes and places-names are given. In the region west of the Mississippi between the Arkansas and Missouri Rivers, the local inhabitants are described as Nations qui ont des Chevaux et des Chameaux (Peoples with horses and camels; Marquette and Jolliet were mistaken about the latter, as no camelid species were present in North America in the 17th century). The Spanish territories of Florida and Mexico are indicated.

Date Created

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Title in Original Language

Carte de la nouvelle découverte que les RR. Pères Jésuites ont fait en l'année 1672 et continuée par le R. Père Jacques Marquette, de la mesme compagnie, accompagné de quelques François en l'année 1673, qu'on pourra nommer la Manitounie

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : manuscript, color ; 76 x 43 centimeters


  1. J. Monet, “MARQUETTE, JACQUES,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003– ).
  2. André Vachon, “JOLLIET, LOUIS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003– ).

Last updated: January 8, 2018