Europe's American Colonies During The War of Jenkins Ear
Finely colored example of Bowen's map of the future Southwestern and Southeastern United States, Baja California, Mexico, Central America and the Gulf Coast region, centered on Texas, published in London in 1747.
The map was published in the midst of the so-called War of Jenkin's Ear and the wider War of Austrian Succession, a time when the British were making their first sustained efforts to challenge Spanish control of the markets and colonial interests in Spanish America. While the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht had given the British limited trading rights in Spanish America, British merchants were keen on expanding the trade. Spain, in turn, was increasingly threatened by the creation of the Georgia Colony in 1732. An attempt to settle various disputes and set a boundary between Georgia and Florida was unsuccessful and by 1739, England and Spain were at war in the New World.
The present map is one of the first English maps to focus on the region, which must have been of growing interest to the British public. Stretching from California to Florida and south to Panama, the map elegantly frames the region which was contested actively between Spain and England from 1739 to 1743.
A curious historical note in California states that
California, which has been Described and Represented as an island, even by very modern Geographers, was Discover'd by Father Eusebius Francis Kino a Jesuit, to be a Peninsula between the Years 1689 and 1701 who together with other Jesuit Missionaries travelled thither by Land & converted a great Number of Natives.
The map also includes an inset of the Galapagos islands.
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.