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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians": Jesuit representation of seventeenth-century New France Dragonas, Stephanie


Highly ornamented with multiple images, the seventeenth-century map of New France, Novae Franciae Accurata Delineatio, 1657 is unusual in juxtaposing multiple vocabularies. This thesis seeks to locate the map of within concurrent discourses of conversion and colonisation as well as diverse cartographic and religious visual vocabularies. Announced in the 1653 account of the of the Jesuit missions among the Huron Indians, Breve Relatione d'Alcune Missioni de 'PP. Delia Compagnia di Giesu netta Nuova Francia by Italian Jesuit Francesco Bressani, this map attempts to accomplish a task unusual in cartographic discourse; it is expected to visualise a history. In contrast to early modern cartography that tends to stabilise time and place, this map seeks to represent multiple time and multiple space in order to construct a history. The narrative of the Jesuit missionary efforts among the Hurons is conveyed by map through the juxtaposition of multiple visual vocabularies. Ships and sea-monsters inhabit the gulf of St. Lawrence; scenes of native life are scattered across the mapped landscape. These visual vocabularies, the ethnographic, cartographic and religious are all drawn from other printed forms to be placed side by side on the map. Bringing with them their own assumptions and organising principles their juxtaposition opens up the possibility of contestation within the representation. An image of barbarism, sacrifice and redemption, this map also points to the struggles for power involved in the maintenance of the territory of New France. An important site of analysis is the Jesuit Relations, yearly printed accounts which provide a means of interpreting relations produced through the representation of the 'New World' to the Old. Guided by the many Jesuit texts and images that were produced in relation to New France in the seventeenth century in this thesis I propose to trace out some of the possible meanings produced by this map.

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