By: Thomas Kitchin
Date: 1770 (Published) London
Dimensions: 13.25 x 14.25 inches (33.5 x 36 cm)
A scarce and fascinating map of North America published between the French and Indian War or Seven Years War and the American Revolution, the map presents the North American continent at a time of shifting dynamics with regards to European powers and a growing desire for national sovereignty among the British Colonies.
Rising Tensions during Times of Peace
After the French and Indian War (1756 - 1763) Great Britain held a tremendous amount of debt, primarily from the cost of war to secure their original colonies as well as from defending the colonial claims of France that extended their territory to the Mississippi and into Canada. The crown felt the best way to cover their debt was to increase taxes on the American colonists, which over time contributed to a feeling of intolerance towards Britain. This ongoing tax burden, as well as a number of other factors, would lead to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War just six years after the publication of this map.
Coexistence of Colonists and Native Americans
This map shows the addition of French territory with the extension of the boarders of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to the Mississippi River. Many of the aboriginal tribes that would later be relocated to present-day Oklahoma still coexist with the Anglo-American colonists and are represented within their ancestral lands. Pennsylvania (the Quaker State) is a great example of this as William Penn's "peaceable kingdom," policy towards Native Americans extended their boarder to the north side of lake Erie to accommodate the tribes of that region.
Cartographic Curiosities and Myths
Moving west, we find a large number of cartographic curiosities and intriguing annotations such as "Buffalo Meadows," "the head of this river is unknown," "Mountain of bright stones," and in the north, "These Parts are unknown." Additional cartography myths include the "River of the West," discovered by Aguillar and the "Western Sea," discovered by Juan de Fuca, of which only an entrance is shown but no interior shoreline. Just off the coast of present-day San Francisco the map identifies the location where Sir Francis Drake spent 5 weeks, would name the region New Albion, and claim it on behalf of England.
Teguayo & Quivira, two of the seven fabled golden cities for which the infamous conquistador Hernando Coronado would search are noted. Coronado would leave a wake of destruction and death among the Pueblos of the region but failed to locate any significant amount of gold. In the north, the map depicts Hudson Bay with several potential and "very doubtful," seas and straits as well as regional locations of indigenous Eskimos. This area would undergo decades of failed expeditions by the British in the first half of the 19th century in search of a Northwest Passage.
Condition: This map is in B condition with an extended right margin and some loss to the original image in this area. Discoloration along both side margins is apparent as well as a few small holes and a one inch tear in the lower margin that have been repaired on the verso using archival materials.
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