“L’AMERIQUE…” Paris: Robert Janvier, c. 1762 (dated in the cartouche), from the first edition of Janvier's "Atlas Moderne". Engraved map with original hand-coloring. (Image: 12 x 17 ½’’). Nice condition with crisp engraving -unobtrusive toned spot in northern Pacific near the California coastline.
This map shows the Americas in outline color. The mythical “Mer de l'Ouest” in North America joins the Pacific with the Hudson Bay – providing a possible Northwest Passage (derived from the fictitious reports of the Spanish navigator Juan de la Fuca, and not settled until Captain Cook and Vancouver sailed and plotted that coastline).
Alaska is speculatively depicted with a rough shape incorporating the Aleutians. The British colonies are shown east of the Appalachians and French Louisiana stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
In the 18th century, France became the center of geographical science and “her contribution to the advancement of cartography was of the highest importance... The weakness of the French school was in their predilection for theorizing. They abhorred a vacuum, and so where no real knowledge was available they filled in the gaps with theoretical conceptions” (Tooley: Maps and Map-Makers, p.42). This approach to map making became known as Theoretical Cartography.