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There's a new walk sign voice on the streets of St. Paul. It's not pretty...

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Frosty morning train crossing the Kettle River.
Sandstone, Minnesota - First City of the North Woods.

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Early depictions of Minnesota, included.
Looks like they took the course of the Mississippi up what we call the Minnesota River (for which a good case can be made).
Early Native American cartography on a printed map

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Two extraordinary maps on one sheet, the one a very early example of native American geography, the other a synthesis of two of the earliest surviving French manuscript maps of the upper Midwest & Plains.

Buache intended this pair of maps as proof of a continuous watercourse—the “River of the West”–linking Lake Superior with the Sea of the West and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. The upper map is a copy of a manuscript map drawn by a French officer, which in turn was based on three maps obtained by him from Cree Indians in 1728. The lower map is a synthesis by Buache of two previously unpublished manuscript maps drawn by French fur traders working in the region during the 1730s, during which time the French extended the reach of their explorations as far as the Black Hills and the Upper Missouri River region.

However flawed Buache’s views about a River and Sea of the West, these depictions of the region between the Upper Missouri River in the Dakotas, Lake Winnipeg and the Great Lakes are of the utmost importance. They represent respectively a very early example of the transmission of native American geographic knowledge of the West and the first attempt to synthesize French field reports and manuscript maps from the 1720s and 1730s into a single printed map.

The pair were part a suite of maps illustrating Philippe Buache’s Considerations Geographiques et Physiques Sur Les Nouvelles Decouvertes au Nord de la Grande Mer. Published in Paris in 1753-55, this was a gathering of essays addressing the geography of the North Pacific and the American West.

The image exists in two states, of which this is an example of the first. The second state (the only one noted by Kershaw) has “Page 146” added at upper right. I find no record of either state having appeared individually on the market, and only four sales records for the Considerations since 1950.

Native American manuscript map of a water route from Lake Superior to the River of the West
The upper of the two maps is described as a sketch map by the “Savauge Ochagach” and others, and depicts a continuous water route linking Lake Superior in the east, “Lac Ouimpigon” (Lake Winnepeg) and the “Fl. de l’O” (River of the West). At the head of this river are the “Mgnes de pierres brillantes,” an extremely early reference to the Rocky Mountains.

The map derives from a manuscript map and report made by French Canadian fur trader and explorer, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye. In 1729 he assumed command of Fort Kaministiquia at present-day Thunder Bay, Lake Superior, a fur trading outpost then at the western limits of the explored parts of French North America. At this time, the French were actively seeking a water route to the Pacific, which had been hypothesized by French geographers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

La Verendrye received multiple reports from the Cree Indians, all of which seemed to confirm the River of the West hypothesis. One informant, Cree chief named Tacchigis, described a great river of the west, as well as the Missouri River Valley, persuading La Verendrye of the necessity of extending the French presence in the region and ultimately locating the western river. Another, a Cree engaged by La Verendrye as a guide, drew a map of a canoe route from Law Superior to Lake Winnepeg, with a note referencing the River of the West at its western extremity. La Verendrye created a composite from these native sources, which was transmitted first to the Governor of Canada and then on to France around 1730. Nicholas Bellin wrote in 1755 that this was the earliest drawing of the region west of Lake Superior held by the Depot De La Marine.

Buache’s synthesis of two French manuscript maps
These promising native reports encouraged La Verendrye to push aggressively into the region west of the Lake Superior. Ultimately expeditions by Le Verendrye, his sons and nephews pushed past the Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg and into present-day Manitoba. Along the way they sought to create a more permanent presence by establishing a series if fortified trading posts.

The lower map represents Buache’s attempt to reconcile manuscript maps based on these expeditions of La Verendrye and his family (At least one of these manuscripts is still extant and is described in Edward D. Neill’s The History of Minnesota, pp. 800-801.) This map shows a much larger area than the Ochagach map, encompassing three great watersheds of the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and Hudson Bay. Like the Ochagach map it depicts a long river system extending west from Lake Superior, though here a portage over a narrow mountain range (probably the Rockies) is required to reach the River of the West. The Mississippi is shown with a profound westward turn that also brings it within an even shorter portage of the western river. Posts established by the La Verendryes are shown at Fort St. Pierre, Fort St. Charles (on present-day Lake of the Woods), and as far west as Fort Bourbon in present-day Manitoba. This last was established by La Venerdrye’s son Pierre in 1741.

Verendrye died in 1749, without ever having found a route to the Pacific. Buache’s efforts to reconcile and synthesize the Verendrye manuscripts was driven by his own misguided aim of proving the existence of this route, and it entailed a tremendous amount of supposition. Nonetheless, this map represents an early attempt to synthesize the findings of the earliest French explorations of the country north and west of the upper Midwest and Great Plains.

See the details:

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The ubiquitous bald eagles over the Mississippi...

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Red Wing Minnesota Vacations
Red Wing Minnesota Vacations

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Maple Grove Middle & High School Orchestra performed Fiddle Concert

So proud of kiddo, played Viola and all of the kids.

Fantastic performance by all

#2019 #maplegrove #ketandeshpandeambit

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The hell with daily traffic reports, this is the kind of report we need...

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This weekend in Sandstone, Minnesota - the 14th annual Sandstone Ice Festival.
find out more at
#mnfun #mnwinter #icepopart #sandstonemn

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