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Description

An Exceptionally Colored Example

Striking antique map of the British, Spanish & French Colonies in North America on the eve of the French & Indian War.

The map includes a fascinating annotation, which attributes the cartographic detail in the region to the maps of Charlevoix and Bellin, whose maps had only recently been published in Paris. These French maps were drawn from French explorations in the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Mississippi Valley, which had dramatically improved upon the information available to Henry Popple and other British mapmakers of the prior decade. Coming immediately before the landmark large format maps of D'Anville and Mitchell, the present map presents one of the most interesting depictions of an Anglocentric view of the future United States during the period.

The map clearly emphasizes the newly updated cartographic information in the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes regions, showing significantly more information than prior British Maps of the region. The treatment in the British Colonies also reflects significant new information, undoubtedly compiled from the freshly available surveys which would have been making it across the Atlantic to the Board of Trade from the various British Colonies, especially those south of the Chesapeake region which were only just beginning to flourish commercially.

The primitive treatment of the Ohio River Valley and the region between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi River is reflective of the the information known in the 1740s, on the eve of the great expansion into the region which would draw the French and English into conflict in the following decade and launch the military (and real estate speculation) career of a teenage Virginian, George Washington.

The most curious element of the map is its bold depiction of the Rio Grande, which extends far to the North of its true sources and greatly distorts the geography of the region drained by the river. A number of towns such as Santa Fe and Taos are shown on the Rio Grande, and a number of the early Spanish roads in the region are also shown.

Excellent detail in the Mississippi Valley. Many early Indian Tribal lands are located.

Nice treatment of the Great Lakes. Excellent detail throughout, including extensive annotations.

Emanuel Bowen Biography

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.