The Earliest Obtainable Map of The Georgia Colony
Bowen's map of Georgia is one of the most highly sought after of all maps of Georgia. Published in John Harris' N avigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca, or Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, first published in London in 1705, the map of Georgia first appeared in the 1744-48 and 1764 editions, when a new Chapter was added, giving a history of Georgia.
The map covers the region from Charleston to the Mississippi River.
Cumming notes that it is one of the best large format maps of the region during the period, showing coastal settlements in South Carolina, the Indian tribes friendly or hostile to the English, and the chief trading paths of the period. Indian territories are shown by fine dotted lines. The Georgia roads and settlements are particularly complete. Excellent detail along the Flint River.
Province of Georgia
The Province of Georgia was the last of the Southern colonies in British America. In the original grant, a narrow strip of the province extended to the Mississippi River.
The colony's corporate charter was granted to General James Oglethorpe on April 21, 1732, by George II, for whom the colony was named. The charter was finalized by the King's privy council on June 9, 1732. Oglethorpe envisioned a colony which would serve as a haven for debtors. General Oglethorpe imposed very strict laws that many colonists disagreed with, such as the banning of alcohol. Oglethorpe disagreed with slavery and thought a system of small holdings more appropriate than the large plantations common in the colonies to the north. However, land grants were not as large as most colonists would have preferred. Oglethorpe envisioned the province as a location for the resettlement of English debtors and "the worthy poor".
Another motivation for the founding of the colony was as a "buffer state" (border), or "garrison province" that would defend the southern part of the British colonies from Spanish Florida. Oglethorpe imagined a province populated by "sturdy farmers" that could guard the border; because of this, the colony's charter prohibited slavery.
The original charter specified the colony as being between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, up to their headwaters (the headwaters of the Altamaha are on the Ocmulgee River), and then extending westward "sea to sea." The area within the charter had previously been part of the original grant of the Province of Carolina, which was closely linked to Georgia.
This is the only reasonably obtainable large format map of Georgia published prior to the American Revolution.
Emanuel Bowen (1694?-1767) was a British engraver and print seller. He was most well-known for his atlases and county maps. Although he died in poverty, he was widely acknowledged for his expertise and was appointed as mapmaker to both George II of England and Louis XV of France. His business was carried on by his son, Thomas Bowen. He also trained many apprentices, two of whom became prominent mapmakers, Thomas Kitchin and Thomas Jeffreys.