41 results in English
Map of the Western Ocean and Part of Northern America Drawn up to Record the Travels in 1720 of Father Charlevoix of the Society of Jesus in Canada, Louisiana and Saint-Domingue
Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix was a French Jesuit priest who made a voyage to America in 1720−22. He had already taught in Quebec in 1705−9 and then was recalled to France. He departed Rochefort for New France on July 2, 1720, and arrived in Quebec on September 23 of that year. From there, he traveled to Montreal, Ontario, Niagara Falls, and as far as Lake Michigan. He then went down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, where he arrived on January 10, 1722. His vessel the Adour was shipwrecked ...
An Accurate Depiction of New France, 1657
This 1657 map, entitled Novae Franciae Accurata Delineatio (An accurate depiction of New France), is attributed to the Jesuit Francesco Bressani (1612−72), who was sent as a missionary to the Huron Indians in 1642. In 1653 he published in his native Italy an account of his stay in New France in which he announced the impending publication of a map, also based on his time in North America. The map shown here, from the National Library of France, is one of only two known copies of Bressani’s map ...
Map of the City of New Orleans as it was on May 30, 1725
New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and named in honor of the regent of France, Philippe d’Orléans (1674–1723), who awarded the monopoly to exploit the adjacent colony to John Law and the Compagnie d’Occident (Company of the West). Located on the Mississippi River, near where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the town became the capital of Louisiana in 1722. This map by an unknown cartographer shows how it appeared in 1725. Built on a uniform, rectangular grid system, the ...
Map of the Village of the Ottawa “Savages,” at the Erie Strait, 1732
Detroit was founded in 1701 by a French trader, Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac, who built a fort on the Detroit River and named it Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit in honor of Louis Phélypeaux, Comte de Pontchartrain, the French navy minister. The British later shortened the name to Detroit (“strait”). Fort Pontchartrain was located near three Indian villages, one of which was the Ottawa village depicted here. The map shows the grid-like pattern in which communal houses known as wigwams were arranged. At the top of the map two houses ...
Plan of the Natchez Fort, Blockaded by the French on January 20, 1731, and Destroyed on the 25th of Said Month
This plan by an unknown author shows the site of the Natchez siege of January 1731, which had its origins in disputes between the Natchez and the French colonists over land. The Compagnie d’Occident (Company of the West) had established several tobacco plantations in the environs of Fort Rosalie (close to present-day Natchez, Mississippi), near several Indian villages. On November 28, 1729, the Natchez staged an uprising, the principal cause of which was the attempt by a French commander to relocate an Indian village in order to establish a ...
Map of the Two Natchez Forts Captured in February 1730 by the French, Choctaw, Tunica, Acolapissa, and Houma
This plan shows the site of the two forts captured by the French in February 1730 as part of their response to a massacre by the Natchez late the previous year. The conflict between the French and the Natchez had its origins in disputes over land. The Compagnie d’Occident (later the Compagnie des Indes) had established several tobacco plantations in the environs of Fort Rosalie (close to present-day Natchez, Mississippi), near several Indian villages. On November 28, 1729, the Natchez staged an uprising, the principal cause of which was ...
View of the Mission of Sault-Saint-Louis
This drawing depicts the French mission to the Iroquois at Sault-Saint-Louis (present-day Caughnawaga or Kahnawake, near Montreal, Canada). Founded on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in 1680, the mission was where the Jesuit Joseph-François Lafitau lived among the Iroquois for five years, from 1712 to 1717. Lafitau was educated in rhetoric and philosophy and steeped in theology and the classics. At age 31, he went to Canada as a missionary, where, with the help of Father Julien Garnier, he studied the language and culture of the Iroquois. He ...
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 ...
Samuel de Champlain. Governor-General of Canada (New France)
There are no surviving portraits of Samuel de Champlain made during his lifetime. This lithograph is a counterfeit produced in circa 1854. It is based on the portrait of a contemporary of Champlain’s, Michel Particelli d’Emery (superintendent of finances under King Louis XIII), which was engraved by Balthasar Montcornet in Paris in 1654. At the bottom of the portrait, the forger signed the name “Ducornet,” an altered version of Montcornet. Soon after, the work was attributed to Louis-César-Joseph Ducornet, a handicapped artist who painted using his mouth and ...
Departure for the Islands
When Canada, also called New France, became a royal province in 1663, there were at least six male colonists of marriageable age for every European-born female. With a view to reducing this imbalance and to ensuring the settlement of the colony, King Louis XIV subsidized the cost of passage to New France for nearly 770 young women between 1663 and 1673. When finances permitted, he granted each a dowry of 50 livres intended to facilitate their marriage and settlement. Contrary to persistent legend, these girls were not prostitutes, but more ...
Nipissing Indian in Canada, 1717
This hand-colored print dating from 1717 shows a Nipissing warrior, armed with bow and arrows, wearing moccasins, clothed in a tunic and cape obtained from the Europeans, and covered in tattoos. The French in Canada, priests in particular, found native tattoos repellent for religious reasons having to do with the sanctity of the human body. The Nipissing are an Algonquin people, first encountered by the French in 1613. Beginning in the early 1600s, the French formed alliances and developed friendships with a number of Indian tribes, including the Montagnais, Algonquin ...
Tattooed Fox Warrior
This drawing, executed at Quebec around 1730, shows a Fox warrior, tattooed and armed with a bow and arrow. An Algonquin people from the region of the Great Lakes, the Fox were decimated by wars with the French-backed Hurons and in the Fox Wars with the French that began at Detroit in 1712 and continued intermittently until 1738. The Fox Wars pitted the French and their Indian allies against the Fox, who had the support of the Sauk, Winnebago, and Kickapoo. The wars showed the inability of the French to ...
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 ...
Canadian Indian
This hand-colored drawing portrays a Canadian Indian, most likely a Nipissing, who was part of a settled community on the Île aux Tourtesnear Montreal. An explanatory manuscript on a separate folio states: “these natives, who are good warriors, used to live by a Canadian lake named after them, and were attracted to the colony in 1704 in order to make it their home. They currently live on the Île aux Tourtes, which is southwest of the Island of Montreal on the Saint Lawrence River. The idea was to have ...
Louisiana Squirrel
This hand-colored drawing of 1727 depicts what is said to be a flying squirrel, which is perched on a branch eating a nut. The squirrel was brought to Paris from New Orleans by a Capuchin priest who, after three days, gave it to the queen. According to the note written in pencil at the top of the illustration, the small animal aroused much curiosity and amusement at the French court, where “its favorite thing was to jump onto the ladies’ necks and hide.” The note explains: “He would fly from ...
Taking Possession of Louisiana and the Mississippi River, in the Name of Louis XIVth, by Cavelier de La Salle [From Rouen] on April 9, 1682
This lithograph from the 1870s by Jean-Adolphe Bocquin illustrates the claiming of Louisiana for France by René Robert Cavelier de La Salle, an event that helped to make La Salle one of the heroes of France’s first colonial empire. La Salle was born in Rouen in 1643. Educated at a Jesuit college, he originally intended to enter the priesthood, but in 1666 he left France for Canada, seeking to make his fortune. He obtained a grant of land and worked for a time as a farmer and landlord. With ...
New Travels to the West Indies. Including an Account on the Peoples who Live by the Great Saint Louis River, also Known as the Mississippi River, 1768
Jean-Bernard Bossu (1720–92) was a French soldier and adventurer who in the late 18th century explored large parts of the French colony of Louisiana. He made three extended trips to the New World, in 1751, 1757, and 1760. In 1751 he traveled up the Mississippi River to the lands of the Arkansas Indians, also known as the Quapaw. Bossu wrote extensive letters to the Marquis de l’Estrade about his adventures among the native peoples of the Mississippi Valley, who included not only the Quapaw but also the Illinois ...
New Voyages to North America by the Baron de Lahontan
Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce, baron de Lahontan (1666‒1716), was a French soldier who was sent to North America in 1683. He participated in the French campaign against the Iroquois on Lake Ontario in 1684 and was put in command of Fort Saint-Joseph (present-day Niles, Michigan) in 1687. In 1688‒89 he explored along the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and the region around present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. He returned to France in 1692, but fled to Portugal the following year in a dispute with Jacques-François de Monbeton de Brouillan ...
Compilation of Rules, Edicts, Declarations and Decisions on Trade, the Justice System and the Police in America’s French Colonies. Including the “Code Noir”
In 1717, French finance minister John Law decided to introduce the importation of slaves into the colony of Louisiana, with the goal of developing the plantation economy in Lower Louisiana. The Compagnie des Indes (Company of the Indies) subsequently obtained the monopoly on economic activity in the region and between 1719 and 1743 imported approximately 6,000 slaves to the colony. To regulate relations between slaves and colonists, the Louisiana Code noir, or slave code, was introduced in 1724. Based largely on the code compiled in 1685 for the French ...
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 ...
Relation, or True Chronicle of what Occurred in the Country of Louisiana for Twenty-two Consecutive Years from the Start of the French Settlement in the Region
André Pénicaut, born around 1680 in La Rochelle, France, was a “carpenter in the construction of royal ships” and an interpreter. This manuscript is his account of the 22 years he spent in Louisiana between 1699 and 1721. Pénicaut first sailed for Louisiana in September 1698 on Le Marin, captained by the Count of Surgères, as part of the expedition led by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (1661‒1706), founder of the French colony of Louisiana. Based on his daily notes, Pénicaut’s account is extremely rich, describing in turn ...
Second Voyage by the Commander on Behalf of the Very Pious King Francis, by Jacques Cartier, in the Year Fifteen Hundred and Thirty-six
During his first voyage to the New World, in 1534, Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and made contact with the Iroquois. Thanks to their accounts of a fabulously rich Kingdom of Saguenay, a second voyage was rapidly decided upon. Cartier’s second voyage to New France (present-day Canada), in 1535‒36, resulted in the discovery of the Saint Lawrence River, the most important route into the interior of the continent. This discovery for a long time would raise hopes of a passage to China. Cartier ascended the ...
Algonquin Grammar or on the Natives of North America, with the Description of the Country, Journals of Voyages, Memoirs, Remarks on Natural History, Et Cetera, Et Cetera
Louis Nicolas (active 1667‒75) was a French Jesuit who in 1664 was sent to Canada as a missionary, where he remained until 1675. He traveled widely and developed a keen interest in the people, languages, flora, and fauna of New France. He wrote three major works, none of which was published in his lifetime but which survived in manuscript form: Histoire naturelle des Indes occidentales (Natural history of the West Indies); the pictorial manuscript known as the Codex Canadensis; and the work presented here, Grammaire algonquine ou des sauvages ...
Narrative of Le Moyne, an Artist who Accompanied the French Expedition to Florida Under Laudonnière, 1564
Great collections of travel narratives were published in Europe in the second half of the 16th century, reflecting more than a century of European effort to take possession of the New World, both materially and intellectually. A series of travel narratives, known today as “Great and Small Voyages,” was published in Frankfurt from 1590 to 1634 by the print shop of Theodor de Bry. This collection was distinguished by the importance and the quality of its intaglio illustrations, engraved in copper plate, and produced for the most part using authentic ...
The Story of the Chevalier des Grieux and of Manon Lescaut
Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut (Story of the Chevalier des Grieux and of Manon Lescaut), more commonly known as Manon Lescaut, is a novel by the Abbé Prévost (1697‒1763), first published in Paris in 1731. Considered scandalous at the time, it was immediately banned. The novel tells the story of Chevalier des Grieux and his lover, the amoral courtesan Manon Lescaut. Des Grieux is from a noble family, but he forfeits his inheritance when he displeases his father and runs away with Manon. The two ...
The Special Features of Antarctic France, Otherwise Called America, and of Several Lands and Islands Discovered in Our Time
André Thevet (1516‒92) was a Franciscan friar who traveled widely and, through his writings, helped to establish cosmographie—as geography was called at the timeas a science in 16th-century France. After making trips to Africa and the Middle East in the 1540s, he was appointed chaplain to the expedition of Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon, which set out from Le Havre in May 1555 to establish a colony in Brazil. The expedition landed near present-day Rio de Janeiro in November of the same year. In January 1556, Thevet fell ...
History and General Description of New France with the Historical Journal of a Voyage in North America Made by Order of the King
Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France avec le Journal historique d'un voyage fait par ordre du roi dans l'Amérique septentrionnale (History and general description of New France with the historical journal of a voyage in North America made by order of the king) is the first general account of French settlements in North America, written by Jesuit priest Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix (1682−1761) and published in Paris in 1744. Charlevoix’s account relies in part on his own knowledge, which he gained while staying in New ...
Historical Memoirs on Louisiana, Including the Most Interesting Events from 1687 to the Present
Mémoires historiques sur la Louisiane: contenant ce qui y est arrivé de plus mémorable depuis l'année 1687 jusqu'à présent (Historical memoirs on Louisiana, including the most interesting events from 1687 to the present) is based on a manuscript text by soldier Jean-François-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny (born 1696) that was completed in France in 1747. The work was compiled and edited by the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Le Mascrier and published in Paris in 1753. Dumont’s original manuscript is preserved in the Newberry Library in Chicago. It narrates the events ...
Natural History of the West Indies
Louis Nicolas (active 1667‒75) was a French Jesuit who in 1664 was sent to Canada as a missionary, where he remained until 1675. He traveled widely and developed a keen interest in the people, languages, flora, and fauna of New France. He wrote three major works, none of which was published in his lifetime but which survived in manuscript form: Histoire naturelle ou la fidelle recherche de tout ce qu'il y a de rare dans les Indes Occidantalles (Natural history, or the faithful research on all that is ...
Relation of what Occurred in New France in the Year 1634
Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'année 1634 (Relation of what occurred in New France in the year 1634) is without doubt the finest of the Jesuit Relations published in Paris between 1632 and 1673. Written by the French missionary Paul Le Jeune (1592−1664), the work is known for its literary quality as well as its observations on the Montagnais Indians. Born near the city of Châlons-sur-Marne, in the region of Champagne, Le Jeune spent two years, between 1613 and 1615, as ...
The Long Journey to the Land of the Hurons, Located in America, near the Mer douce to the Far Borders of New France, Called Canada
Gabriel Sagard (circa 1590‒circa 1640) was a Recollet brother who in 1623‒24 lived among the Hurons, France’s main Indian allies at the time. Accompanied by Father Nicolas Viel, Sagard left his monastery in Paris in March 1623 and arrived in Quebec some three months later. In August Sagard, Viel, and one other Recollet missionary, Father Joseph Le Caron, set out for the Huron country with a party of Hurons returning from their annual exchange of furs with the French. Sagard lived among the Hurons until May 1624 ...
Journal of an Expedition against the Iroquois in 1687
Louis-Henri de Baugy (died 1720), known as Chevalier de Baugy, was from a noble family in the French province of Berry. He arrived in Canada in October 1682. He served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Denonville in his 1687 campaign against the Senecas, one of the Iroquois nations hostile to the French. Baugy left a detailed account of this expedition, during which the French and their Indian allies ransacked four enemy villages, including their cornfields. Presented here is an 1883 edition of Baugy’s Journal d'une expédition contre ...
Original Account of the Voyage of Jacques Cartier to Canada in 1534
In the 16th century, exploration and settlement of the New World was not a high priority of the French monarchy, which was primarily concerned about rivalry on the European continent with the powerful Habsburg Empire. Moreover, France was weakened by the Wars of Religion (1562‒98). The first official voyage of exploration sponsored by France was undertaken in 1524 by an experienced Italian navigator, Giovanni da Verrazano (1485‒1528), whom King Francis I (reigned 1515‒47) commissioned to discover a new route to Cathay (China). Financed by Italian bankers established ...
A Full and Impartial Account of the Company of Mississippi, Otherwise called the French East-India Company. Projected and Settled by Mister Law
John Law was a Scottish financier and adventurer who was also an authority on banking and the circulation of money. He convinced the regent of France, Philippe d’Orléans, that he could liquidate the French government’s debt by a system of credit based on paper money. In 1716 he launched the Banque générale, which had the authority to issue notes. The following year he founded the Compagnie d’Occident (Company of the West), the capital for which was raised by the sale of 500-livre shares, payable only in ...
Relation of the Voyage to Port Royal in Acadia, or New France
Diéreville was a French surgeon and poet who in 1699‒1700 made a voyage to New France, which he recounted in his Relation du voyage du Port-Royal de l'Acadie, ou de la Nouvelle France (Relation of the voyage to Port Royal in Acadia or New France), published in 1708 in Rouen. His full name is unknown, as is information about his life beyond the few autobiographical details offered in his account. He appears to have studied surgery in Paris and published a number of poems in a French literary ...
Noteworthy History of Florida, Located in the West Indies, Including the Three Voyages Made There by Certain Captains and French Pilots
Before the establishment of colonies in Canada early in the 16th century, France made several unsuccessful attempts to found settlements in Canada, Brazil, and Florida. The second voyage of exploration by Jacques Cartier (1491‒1557), in 1535‒36, gave birth to the idea of a colonial settlement across the Atlantic. In 1541 King Francis I named Jean-François de la Roque de Roberval (circa 1501‒circa 1560), from the western province of Saintonge, lieutenant general of Canada. Guided by Cartier, Roberval established a small fort on the Saint Lawrence River, but ...
Relation of what Occurred that was Most Remarkable in the Missions of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus in New France in the Years 1671 and 1672
The Jesuit priest Claude Dablon (circa 1619‒97) came to Canada in the late summer of 1655, where he remained until his death. In addition to his work as a missionary, Dablon developed a keen interest in the geography of the interior of North America, still largely unknown to Europeans at that time. In 1669 he and Father Claude Allouez (1622‒89) undertook a journey around Lake Superior, which contributed to the earliest European mapping of the lake. Dablon was appointed superior of the Jesuit missions in New France 1671 ...
Authorization Granted to Jacques Hertel de Cournoyer, to Travel to the Pays-d’En-Haut for the Purpose of Trading Furs
With this document dated April 30, 1721, and signed in Montreal, Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil (1643–1725), governor of New France, permitted Jacques Hertel de Cournoyer (1667–1748) to go to the Pays d'en Haut (a vast territory to the west of Montreal) with two canoes and eight men. Cournoyer was to serve Father Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix (1682–1761), a priest who was traveling to the region ostensibly to visit missions, but who had been ordered by Philippe, duc d’Orléans, to find the western sea, thought to provide ...
Map of Louisiana and the Course of the Mississippi River, Based on a Large Number of Records, Including Those of Monsieur le Maire, by Guillaume de l'Isle, of the Royal Academy of Sciences
Carte de la Louisiane et du cours du Mississipi (Map of Louisiana and the course of the Mississippi River) was created in the early 18th century by the noted French cartographer Guillaume de L’Isle (1675–1726), famous for his relatively accurate maps of Europe, Africa, and North and South America. The map mostly shows the Louisiana Territory, centered on the course and watershed of the Mississippi River. It covers from the Great Lakes in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south and the Rocky Mountains to ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Western part of New France, or Canada, Done by Mr. Bellin, Royal Marine Engineer, in Order to Further Understanding of Present-Day Political Matters in America
This detailed map of the Great Lakes region of western “New France” by Jacques Nicolas Bellin was published by the Heirs of Homan in 1755, shortly before the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, the conflict that resulted in the transfer of New France to British hands. Bellin was just one representative of a greater movement by French royal and military cartographers in the 18th century to map New France using the knowledge possessed by Native Americans. This map shows details not only of the Canadian waterways, but also of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Concerning the Savages, or, the Voyage of Samuel Champlain, from Brouage, Made in New France in 1603...
This book is an account of Champlain’s first voyage to New France, or Canada, in 1603. Amyar de Chastes, the governor of Dieppe, received from King Henry IV of France a grant of land in Canada, and asked Champlain to accompany him on a voyage to explore the territory. The expedition left Honfleur on March 15, 1603, and reached Tadoussac after a 40-day Atlantic crossing. Champlain first explored some 50-60 kilometers up the Saguenay River. He then proceeded up the Saint Lawrence River to near present-day Montreal. He returned ...
Contributed by John Carter Brown Library