Memoir on Louisiana to be Presented with a Map of This Land to the Sovereign Council of the Navy


Memoire sur la Louisiane (Memoir on Louisiana) is a 23-page handwritten document by the French priest François Le Maire (1575–1658), written for presentation to the sovereign council of the Navy in March 1717, some months before the Compagnie d’Occident (Company of the West) was established with a business monopoly in New France in August of that year. After describing the present state of the young colony (including its geography, ports, natives, and colonists), the author sets forth France’s interests in developing Louisiana and “the most appropriate means” for achieving this goal. The memoir is signed: “François Le Maire, priest of Paris, apostolic missionary of the house and seminary of foreign missions in Paris. At Fort Louis, Louisiana, 1 March 1717.” Fort Louis (present-day Mobile, Alabama) was the capital of Louisiana until 1722. At the end of the memoir is a map of North America, based on “the latest memoirs collected for the establishment of the Company of the West.” New France is shown as extending from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, including the present-day state of Florida. The lands east of the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains are shown as English colonies and not part of New France. The inset map in the upper left shows the colony of Louisiana and the confluence of the Mississippi River with the Gulf of Mexico.

Last updated: January 8, 2018