A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Limits, and Extent of the Settlements
This landmark map of North America published in 1755 shows British sovereignty over large parts of the continent at the outset of the French and Indian War (1754–63). It is perhaps the most well-known 18th-century map of North America. Created by John Mitchell, a native Virginian who moved to London in his mid-thirties, the map was compiled using information provided by governors of the British colonies. Although territories of other European powers are shown, the map is biased toward British interests. French claims in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, as defined by the Treaty of Utrecht (1714), are not recognized and, instead, English colonial claims extending west of the Alleghenies to the Mississippi River are emphasized. In addition to providing a vast amount of geographic information, the map can be seen as an expression of English dominance in North America. This map was later used to establish the boundaries of the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The map is hand-colored, with relief shown pictorially. In the upper left is an inset map entitled “A new map of Hudson’s Bay and Labrador from the late survey of those coasts.” This map had a strong influence on Abel Buell in his Map of United States of North America (1784), the first map published in the independent United States. The influence can be seen in a comparison with the cartouche on the Buell map and in the way the colonial claims extending from the Atlantic coast on this map are similar to the state claims extending to the Mississippi on the 1784 Buell map. The map shows provinces, some counties, numerous towns and cities, frontier settlements, forts, roads, distances between major towns, rivers and lakes, portages, waterfalls, Indian villages and tribal territory, English "factories" among the Indians, mineral deposits, early routes of exploration, a few battlegrounds, and relief. Also shown are the fishing grounds in the North Atlantic and channels in the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
Andrew Millar, London
Type of Item
1 map ; 136 x 195 centimeters
- Scale circa 1:2,000,000
- John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen Van Ee, compilers, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789: A Guide to the Collections in the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1981). http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015016327986.
Last updated: March 3, 2016