This French-made map from 1785 was the first to bear forms of the word “Michigan” applied to a land area. It was also one of the first to recognize the fledgling country by its chosen name, United States, here in the French, Etats-Unis.
This map depicts Michigan oddly with no thumb and with a range of mountains extending down to Florida. It carefully marks waterway portages that link the Great Lakes with the Mississippi river system and points out several mines including one of copper at present day Chicago.
From 1622 to the middle 1700s European mapmakers were drawing California as an island separate from North America. In 1701 Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino walked around Baja California and proved that California was not an island.
Michigan was swarming with settlers in the 1850s. As the rural population rose, counties were organized, split, and reshaped at a fast pace. Settlers were eager to buy maps that reflected the newest information and relied on mapmakers to pay attention to such developments.
In 1860, one-quarter of the foreign-born population in Michigan was from Germany. These two maps of Michigan appeared in two popular German-made atlases, made when many western Europeans were immigrating to the United States.
The Birth of a Myth
Note: The following maps will be on display in the MSU Map Library the week of September 10, 2018. They were both generous gifts of Ron Dietz.
Joan Blaeu, like his father before him, was the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company. This affiliation brought his mapmaking firm advantageous intelligence on the far eastern lands due to the Dutch monopoly on the spice trade.
In 1790, The newly formed US Congress passed the Residence Act allowing for the creation of a new city ‘not more than 10 miles square’ as the seat of the Federal government. The site chosen by George Washington sat between the Potomac and Anacostia rivers making the city accessible for commerce