This map, purported to have been created by Pierre Raffex in 1688 appears in a 1932 atlas by Charles O. Paullin. The map is centered on what are now called the Great Lakes.
What surprised me on this map was “Lac des Illinois.” Lake Illinois? From where I could see it looked like Lake Michigan.
- Consider the source. Is Raffeix’s map accurate in other ways? Are there other problems with it? Is Raffeix generally known to have been accurate?
- Consider the time. Was the name in use when the map was drawn up.
- Consider that the reference could be a mistake or an oversight.
- Is the map an accurate rendering of the original? In this case, the image on this blog post is made from a digital image on the website that was made from the 1932 book which was made from the original or a copy of the original. That’s several generations removed from the original.
- Consider that you don’t know everything. Maybe Lake Michigan was known as Lake Illinois. Even if a person spent their entire life on the lake, it doesn’t mean that they know everything about the lake–especially things three centuries before their lifetime.