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LaSalle Shipwreck Map 1685 Print

Item #: 100194 In Stock
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This handsome map by Texas cartographer Harvey Fletcher commemorates La Belle and the expedition of French explorer Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle. La Salle was the first European to venture to the Ohio River as well as the first to descend the Mississippi, thus claiming the vast territory of Louisiana for France. In 1685, La Salle led 280 settlers from France to the Gulf of Mexico to establish a French colony. The expedition met with disaster, leaving the intrepid Frenchman with only one ship, La Belle, which wrecked near Matagorda Bay in 1686. Despite these setbacks, La Salle explored Texas as far west as the Pecos River. In 1687, he was killed in a mutiny of his own men. Most of the colonists were killed by the Karankawa, with only a few children surviving to tell the tale.

La Salles tragic, compelling story had consequences far beyond his own fate. The French adventure caused the Spanish to hasten their own settlement of Mexico and Texas. In 1803, the French sold the territory claimed by La Salle to the United States. The Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the country and opened the entire continent to American expansion.

In one of the most heralded archaeological finds of the century, La Belle was rediscovered by a team of Texas state archaeologists in 1995. Over a period of years, the entire shipwreck was painstakingly raised and restored. Today the ship and hundreds of artifacts are on permanent display at the Texas State History Museum.

The Fletcher map shows Texas as it was in the days of La Salle, along with insets of La Belle and the Louisiana Territory, and historical context. Printed on parchment paper.


16" x 12"

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