The world’s first detailed look at San Francisco.
This map depicts the port, harbor, and bay of San Francisco, as delineated by French Naval officer and explorer La Pérouse while on his voyage around the world (one he was never to complete, disappearing in the vast reaches of the Pacific).
This map is a very early depiction of many key topographic features that characterized San Francisco at the end of the 1700s. Consider this timeline:
1769 – Portolà’s Spanish exploration party becomes the first documented European sighting of San Francisco Bay.
1776 – In the same year as the Declaration of Independence, San Francisco is dedicated; Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), was established by Fra. Junípero Serra, and a military fort was built, the Presidio of San Francisco (which are marked, respectively, H and F on the map).
1786 – La Pérouse visits San Francisco and writes a detailed account, which along with this map is published in 1797.
Other features noted in the map key include:
Laguna del Merced (B), shown emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
Laguna del Presidio (C), Mountain Lake, where Portolà and his men camped when they first came here.
Pequena Laguna (G), what would in the later 18th century be known as ‘Washerwoman’s Lagoon,’ the origin of today’s Laguna St.
Ile de los Angeles (K), Angel Island
Ile de Alcatraces (J), Alcatraz
We have thus a remarkable document of San Francisco history, a key map for collectors interested in the city.
From the atlas volume of the first edition of La Pérouse’s voyage, plate no. 33.