Map for the Clarification of Land Titles in New France, 1678


This large and beautiful map by Jean-Baptiste Franquelin (1651–after 1712), later the royal hydrographer in Quebec, shows the French presence in the Saint Lawrence valley and Atlantic Canada in 1678. For 20 years from the early 1670s, maps by Franquelin accompanied reports to France sent by the highest officials in its American territories. This map was dedicated to Jean-Baptise Colbert (1619−83), minister of finance under King Louis XIV, who was interested in the colonization of New France. The map includes illustrations of the animals, plants, and people of this part of North America. The drawings of the animals are not very accurate, but bear, beaver, and moose are clearly recognizable. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are shown, along with parts of Lake Huron and Hudson’s Bay. Settlements along the Saint Lawrence River are indicated by name, and Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia), Labrador, and Newfoundland are prominently marked. Scale is in French leagues, a unit of measurement that varied over time, and is approximately 1:1,630,000. Notwithstanding Colbert’s interest, France had only limited success in settling its vast North American colony. Unlike the English, the French did not migrate in large numbers to New France because of urban poverty or religious persecution, and the monarchy did not show much interest in supporting settlement over the long term.

Last updated: November 4, 2015