Alain Manesson Mallet; 1630-1706.
Precious little is known about this author, safe for having
been a military engineer serving King Louis XIV.
His claim to fame comes from his very successful "Description
de l'Univers", a pocket size thick geography book in five
volumes, replete with encyclopedic details, historical data,
scores of illustrations (landscapes, decisive battle scenes,
towns, forts, harbors, .), and quite a few simple maps.
The book was published between 1683 and 1688.
However, reprints were made later with German text (1686 and
Of note also his "Les Travaux de Mars" in 1672 on the art
of fortification, and "La Géométrie Pratique" in 1702, a massive
study in geometry, trigonometry, planimetry and land survey.
This small and minimalist map (4 ½" X 5 15/16") was designed
for the 1683 "Description de l'univers". In a confused way
it shows that, boxed in by New Mexico on the west, Canada
on the north and Virginia on the north east, there was a huge
"Florida" territory made up of areas such as Apalache, Cossa
and Tegesta (so named after the Tequesta tribe living at that time in present
days east Florida). No mention is made of Louisiana,
since it had just been explored by Cavelier de la Salle who
paddled down the Spiritu Santo River (Mississippi) in 1682
and had not yet had time to walk back up to Montreal and return
to France to claim the whole Mississippi basin for his King.
Notice that only two towns are indicated: St. Augustine, and
north of it St. Mathieu (San Mateo was the settlement built
by the Spaniards on the ruins of the French Huguenot Fort
Caroline which was destroyed in 1565.
Typically the St John River (known then as the River of May
because it had been discovered by Captain Jean Ribault on May 1st 1562) has its source
in a substantial fantasy lake.
Note that the peninsula coastal delineation is much influenced
by the 1657 Sanson's seminal map of the area.
French text on verso.