La Harpe led a French expedition to the Southwest in 1718. During nearly four years of travel—the routes of which are outlined on the present map—La Harpe explored the areas that would become Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. While trying to establish a French presence in the region, La Harpe met with many Native American peoples, including Wichita, Tawakoni, Apache, and Quapaw, and established several trading posts. His mapping of Galveston Island and Galveston Bay was one the most significant of his many achievements.
The map extends westward as far a California and designates Spanish settlements in Sonora and Baja California, as well as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Locations are also provided for villages of Christian and friendly Indians, silver mines, capitals or Presidios, and ancient ruins.
Despite La Harpe's efforts, France was unable to overcome the already established Spanish influence in the Southwest. One of his final official actions in the New World was overseeing the transfer of Pensacola, Florida, to the Spanish.
A beautiful and important map, much more accurate than printed French maps of the period.
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