Victor George Henri Collot

Victor George Henri Collot

Georges Henri Victor Collot (1750-1805) was a French soldier, explorer, colonial official, and spy. He served in France’s possessions in North America and the Caribbean. Born in Chalons-sur-Marne in northeastern France in 1750, the young Georges joined the army. He quickly ascended the ranks.

Collot’s first American experience was as a French officer fighting alongside General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. He served as aide-de-camp and maréchal des logis under French general Rochambeau.

From 1792-4, now a Major General, Collot was Governor of Guadeloupe. His time in the Caribbean was short-lived, however, as the British invaded the French colony, imprisoned Collot, and sent him to New York. He evaded punishment and the French turned his presence to their advantage.

Collot was ordered on a reconnaissance mission on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He was to assess the military capacity and fortifications of their imperial rivals, Spain and Britain, as well as to report on the expansion of the Americans westward.

In the spring of 1796, Collot set out. He navigated southward through Illinois and Upper and Lower Louisiana, drawing detailed maps and plans along the way. His presence was not a secret, however; the English, Americans, and Spanish all issued orders to halt his progress. When Collot arrived in New Orleans in October of 1796, the Spanish Governor, Carondelet, seized Collot and his maps. He was released in early December and returned to France.

Changing imperial politics delayed the publication of Collot’s account of his voyage until 1805. He died in the same year. At the time of his death, his Mississippi journey was little known. It was only in 1826 that a limited reissue of his account was published by Arthus Bertrand. He printed 300 French copies and 100 English; Bertrand destroyed the surviving 1805 examples.

Collot’s maps and plans remain scarce today, but they are superbly rendered cartographic works detailing the contested Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys.


1826 - Plan of Fort Erie

  • $9.99

Important early plan of Fort Erie, from Collot's monumental Voyage dans l'Amerique Septentrionale ou Description des Pays Arroses par le Mississippi, l'Ohio, le Missouri, et Autres Riveres Affluentes, published posthumously in 1826, but based upon...


1804 - A General Map of the River Ohio. Plate the Second

  • $21.99

Antique Map of a Section of the Ohio River Prepared By A French Spy Important early map of the Ohio River from Maysville, Kentucky to just south of Wheeling, West Virginia, prepared by the French military officer and spy George Henri Victor Collot,...


1796 - Plan of Fort Baton Rouge

  • $14.99

One of the Earliest European Settlements on the Mississippi River Rare engraved plan of early Baton Rouge, Louisiana (then Spanish West Florida), by famed French cartographer and spy Victor George Henri Collot. This is probably the earliest printed...


1796 - Town and Fort of Natchez

  • $14.99

The First European Settlement on the Mississippi River Rare engraved town plan of Natchez (then a part of French Louisiana), by famed French cartographer and spy Victor George Henri Collot. who visited Natchez in October 1796, during his...


1796 - (Vicksburg, Mississippi) Plan of Nogales

  • $14.99

Rare engraved town plan of the site that would become Vicksburg, Mississippi, by famed French cartographer and spy Victor George Henri Collot. In 1790, the Spanish founded a military outpost on the site of present-day Vicksburg, which they called Fort...


1804 - View of the Rapids of the Ohio and of Louisville taken from the village of Clarkesville.

  • $14.99

One of the Earliest Views of Louisville, Made Shortly After It Was Founded by Col. George Rogers Clark. An 18th century French Spy's View of the Rapids of the Ohio. Fine engraved view of the Rapids of the Ohio River, taken from "Clarkesville" (now...