Map of the United States and Territories, Showing the extent of Public Surveys and other Details. Constructed From the Plats and official sources of the General Land Office
By: General Land Office
Date: 1868 (dated) Washington D.C.
Dimensions: 28 x 55 inches (71 x 140 cm)
This is a remarkable historic map of the United States, presenting the country with the newly completed transcontinental railroad and the extent of all surveyed land. The map is also unique in that it is the first map of the United States to include the Territory of Wyoming as well as a small section of the Dakota Territory in what is now southwestern Montana.
This map was published as part of a series by the General Land Office from 1866 - 1870 in an effort to showcase a coast to coast connection and control of the continental United States. Many copies of the map were printed in other languages with the intention of drawing European immigrants to a growing nation, with seemingly unlimited land, and an abundance of opportunity including farming, manufacturing, and mining. The map is a visual embodiment of Manifest Destiny and a worthy bookend to the first coast to coast map of America by John Melish from 1816.
Transcontinental Railways and Mineral Resources
This map is one of the first, if not the first map of the United States to show a completed transcontinental railroad. Published in 1868 the map predates the final drive of the Golden Spike, that was ceremoniously hammered on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad and thus the country from coast to coast. The route of this line is delineated in red from Omaha to Sacrament. Other transcontinental railroad lines that would be completed in years to follow are also shown and labeled as "proposed."
Throughout this impressive map (but mostly in the west) are a wide variety of mining claims that include minerals such as gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, iron, coal, tin and asphalt. Oil springs are also located in northwest Pennsylvania near Oil City but not yet in Texas. A key at lower left provides a list of these minerals as well as the locations of surveyor generals office, land offices, and land grants.
American Indian Wars of the Mid to Late 19th Century
Upon close examination, one can't help but notice the large number of military forts scattered about the western states as well as the Native American tribes that occupied those same regions. While many tribes from the east and some from the west had been forced onto reservations, some of the most prominent tribes of the west were in the midst of their wars with the Unites States. The publication date of this map places it after the Sand Creek Massacre, during Red Cloud's War, and before the Great Sioux War and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Though the conflict over land between the United States and many Native American nations spans more than 100 years, the horseback tribes of the west proved most difficult to subdue. The turning point for the United States was the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Men and machinery were easily transported across vast distances and buffalo hunters were encouraged to utilize this new method of transportation to bring the Bison (and life source) of these tribes to near extinction.
In many ways, this historic folding map of the United States tells several important stories of an era in American history that changed the country, land, and its inhabitants forever.
Condition: This map is in B+ condition. Issued as a folding map, there are some areas of separation and gaps at fold intersections, all of which have been reinforced on the verso. The map presents beautifully with bright original color on paper lightly toned with age. Margins are full on all sides and map is ready for immediate framing or to be stored in a drawer or on a shelf.
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