Map of Fort Pontchartrain in Canada, on the Strait of Lake Erie


Fort Pontchartrain, located at the straits of Lake Erie and Lake Saint-Clair in what is today the city of Detroit, Michigan, was established in 1701 by Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac, a French military officer. It was named in honor of France’s navy minister, the Comte de Pontchartrain. Lamothe Cadillac was something of a visionary megalomaniac who hoped to make the post “the Paris of New France.” The interior of the fort was arranged according to a grid plan, similar to a small town. During the 18th century, Detroit (which literally means “the strait”) became the main French settlement in the Great Lakes region. In 1765 the population of the settlement included some 2,600 Indians and 800 persons of European origin, spread out over 15 kilometers on both sides of the Detroit River. Letters are used to indicate: the chapel (A); the house of the commandant (B); and the guardhouse (C). The scale of the map is in toises, a measurement used in prerevolutionary France and New France. One toise equaled a bit less than two meters.

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Title in Original Language

Plan du Fort Pontchartrain en Canada situé sur le bord du détroit Erié

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing : pen, ink wash, and watercolor ; 41 x 53.3 centimeters

Last updated: November 4, 2015