This study of the Exploration and Discovery in the Heartland of America 1650-1700, was begun in 1998.
Various original observations and discoveries in this field have been made. The Marquette Map Hoax
was formulated in 2004. The original website for all this work has been taken down, and is currently being reconstructed.

Why the Marquette Map is a Forgery


Figure 1

The image on the left in figure 1 is a detail from the Marquette Hoax Map. “Discovered” in the 1840s, the map presents the delineation of the Illinois River with the uncanny precision of three sides of an octagon, a precision not again attained for 140 years, at which time, in 1813, a map was published by John Melish.

How could someone with no map training and associated with no other maps create a map with the Illinois River, with its "three sides of an octagon" delineation, 140 years in advance of anyone else?

Defenders of the authenticity of the map, addressing the key points, say firstly, that since some of the Jesuit missionaries underwent excellent training and made excellent maps, and since Marquette was a Jesuit missionary, therefore Marquette could create the map. This might sound too illogical for "academic" argument, but this is an argument.

Secondly, Marquette was said to be an excellent cartographer. Unfortunately (the argument goes), for the next 180 years the cartographers were "armchair" cartographers, not competent to the task. This disparagement of those who oppose one's ideas might be said to be transparently grasping at straws, especially in consideration of the many 17th and 18th century professional cartographers who produced increasingly meticulous output.

How was it "discovered"?

Buried in a bundle of documents, the Marquette Map and several other ancient Canadian missionary documents conveniently turned up in Canada the 1840s. They were very friendly to the agenda of the missionaries who discovered them, bolstering their claims of earlier, 17th century preeminence. Three documents in particular are noteworthy – a supposed narrative (text) of a Marquette voyage of 1673, a supposed narrative (text) of a second Marquette voyage of 1675, and a map supposedly drawn by Marquette in between voyages. Overlooked by the defenders of the map is that the inventory made by the recipient of these documents, Felix Martin, does not include these three docments in the list of documents received.

There are challenges to the authenticity of all three documents, but the focus here in on the map. This isolating the map is to simplify to an absolute minimum a demonstration of inauthenticity.

It is a quaint little 6th grader story around these documents -- of the missionary Marquette and the fur trader Jolliet, who paddled off into the unknown with small pouches of dried meat and corn, in pursuit of discovery of new lands and of saving souls.

Some pre-Melish maps
Arrows do not show the "three sides of an octagon" shape which is the correct shape of the river.

One more point: although it is the Illinois River that has always been the focus of the Marquette Map Hoax, the Mississippi River, elbowing out at the 39 latitude is also a chonological inconsistancy. This elbowing out appears on no other maps until after 1700.

 

Some positive reports on this work

In my evaluation, and in that of some distinguished experts, his pursuit of historical truth has resulted in some very unusual discoveries.”
Bill Mullen, Pulitzer Prize winning Tribune reporter

“Carl J. Weber is taking on one of the Mississippi's most esteemed legends and poking it right in the eye...”
Edward Husar, Quincy Herald Whig

“A treasured Canadian artifact, long hailed as the earliest map of the American Midwest and the best proof of the 1673 discovery of the Mississippi River by two French-Canadian explorers has been dismissed as a ``hoax'' by a U.S. researcher.”
Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service