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First Map of the Mississippi

Reproduced map
This map from 1673 depicts the grand river, Mississippi, and possibly the Red or Arkansas rivers at the 32nd latitude. People couldn't spell Mississippi back then, either (Ruderman).

According to Jacques Marquette in 1673, this is the "First Map of the Mississippi River," drawn by him, then published in Paris, France in 1682, and re-printed around 1900.


The "wheel" at the bottom of the image is a cardinal direction, meaning that the right-hand side of the map is north and the left-hand side is south. I also included the latitudes, as they are important in trying to figure out what we're looking at.


The river that enters the Mississippi from the west may be the Red River at the 32/33 latitude, but could also be the Arkansas River, although it enters at 34/35 latitude. Look at all the native settlements, including a town/fort (?) called "Metchigamea" near the confluence, which was described by La Salle in his journals as the place he was gifted a "Pana" boy. Note that there are two villages, one at the Red and one at the Missouri River, labeled Paniassa, who may be the Pawnees, a Caddoan/Wichita tribe. They could be the "black Pawnees," named after their extensive tattooing that colored their skin dark.


The notations are interesting: on the west side of the Mississippi River, the mapmaker annotated, "Nations qui on des chavez et des chameaux" = "nations that have horses and camels." On the east side of the river, around today's Memphis (perhaps -- scale isn't good but the latitude lines give hints) is annotated "they have guns."


I do not know the purpose of the statue-looking figure labeled "Manits" at the 37th latitude, the Missouri River confluence.


This reproduction map was found at Barry Ruderman.

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