Is the Marquette Map a Hoax?
Carl J. Weber, a history professor at DeVry University, argues that a well-known map, purportedly made by Father Jacques Marquette during the 1673 Joliett-Marquette expedition to the Mississippi Valley, is, in fact, a 19th-century forgery meant to bolster Marquette’s place in history as an explorer of the North American interior (at the expense of La Salle).
Weber collects the evidence for his claim, along with a conference paper, on his eponymous web site. His argument can be summarized thusly:
The evidence for the theory that the Marquette Autograph Map is not authentic is based on three considerations: (1) the course of the Illinois River is too accurate for the time it was supposed to have been drawn, (2) Marquette is not known to have received training in cartography, and (3) there is no other map purported to be Marquette’s in existence.
The question is not whether Joliett and Marquette reached the Mississippi, only that this map cannot, Weber argues, be attributed to Marquette or to the 17th century.