A New Map of North America

Scarce map of the future fledgling United States published on the eve of its independence.

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This wonderful map of colonial North America was published in the midst of the American Revolutionary War and is based on the monumental 8 sheet map by John Mitchell (first issued in 1755) that was used in the negotiations which would ultimately recognize an independent United States.

The resulting Treaty of Paris wouldn’t be signed until 1783, so the image shows the competing territorial claims of Britain, France and Spain; with the English clearly getting favorable recognition in Florida (Bounds of Carolina by the Charter of 1665) and across the continent (Limits of Virginia & New England reaching from Sea to ea by Charters of James I). Enclaves surrounding particular forts, missions, or Native American tribes are also indicated and contribute to the territorial authority exhibited by the map.

Despite the clearly political intentions of the image, it still provides fascinating insight into the early foundations of the United States. One road is shown hugging the Atlantic seaboard between Savannah, Georgia and George’s Fort at Thomaston, Maine. A second, less defined route is also indicated in Spanish Texas. Delaware has yet to formalize as a separate colony, and the future state of Maine is shown as a stunted extension of Massachusetts. “Extensive Meadows” and the unknown headwaters of the Mississippi River are shown in the west, beckoning for future exploration and settlement.

Published in Dublin in the 1779 edition of The history of the war in America between Great Britain and her colonies.

References: https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3300.ar016900/

Map Details

Publication Date: 1779

Author: John Mitchell

Sheet Width (in): 22.50

Sheet Height (in): 17.60

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Narrow right margin and some edge wear and discoloration, concentrated largely along the top of the sheet. Similar wear visible along fold lines. Tears along edges have been repaired on the verso. One faint 1" stain below the Lake of the Woods and a small tear near the "E" in Atlantic Ocean. Remains in good shape for its age and scarcity.

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