Sustained cartographic innovations in nascent French Canada: the life and times of Jean Deshayes

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    Abstract

    Jean Deshayes, a teacher of mathematics in his native France, single-handedly put Québec on the map, literally. An accomplished astronomer, he used the lunar eclipse of 10–11 December 1685 to determine the
    settlement’s longitude to unprecedented (although most likely fortuitously high) accuracy for the times. Deshayes contributed invaluable practical insights to the most important contemporary scientific debate—the discussion regarding the shape and size of the Earth—which still resonate today. Over the course of several decades and equipped with an increasingly sophisticated suite of surveyor’s instruments, his careful scientific approach to hydrography and cartography of Canada’s Saint Lawrence River is an excellent example of the zeitgeist associated with the seventeenth century’s ‘Scientific Revolution.’
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-118
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Astronomical History and Heritage
    Volume23
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Keywords

    • scientific revolution
    • longitude determination
    • lunar eclipse method
    • cartography and hydrography
    • Jean Deshayes

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