Middle British colonies in North
The right half of the map, along
the Atlantic Ocean coastline, focuses on the Middle Atlantic
colonies from New York south to Virginia. There are notes
all over the map about various agreements between the Native
Americans and the French and British. A rather stern note
at the far right chides the English King about losing territory
to the French: if he knew its value, "his Majesty would
sacrifice one of the best Gems in his Crown" to stop
the French incursions! Early trails and road networks are
visible, and the English mapmaker has made a good effort to
depict the Appalachians.
At the lower right corner the mapmaker has included charts of
mileage from place to place. A bit of trompe l'oeil
cartography is used to set off the Illinois region--seemingly
at odds with the elaborate baroque design of the title cartouche.
The Middle Atlantic region is defined as that
area east of the Appalachian Mountains from New York south to Virginia,
incorporating important waterways and urban areas along the way.
This digital collection includes maps of the entire region, as well
as maps of its political areas and major geographic features, including
the critical river links to the interior.
The Middle Atlantic region was the commercial
and, along with Boston, the political heart of first the colonies
and later the new nation. The capitals of the new democratic government
- New York City, Philadelphia, and ultimately Washington, D.C. -
were all located in this region. Its coastal location facing Europe
and its mighty rivers, the Hudson, the Delaware, and the Potomac,
offering gateways to the interior of the continent, provided the
foundation for the developing economic engine based on trade and
Pre-1850 maps of North America often show information
about the Middle Atlantic region in relation to the larger nation,
the continent, and the world. These coastal regions, even after
the formation of the United States, continued to look outward toward
Europe for their identity, and for trade and support. Maps from
the 17th and 18th centuries focused on the trade routes and geographic
information linking the region to its trading partners in Europe
and the West Indies.
Although the depiction of the Middle Atlantic
coastline was relatively accurate on early maps, the interior, Appalachia
and beyond, remained clearly inaccurate for decades. Following river
valleys and Indian trails, explorers, settlers, and exploiters of
natural resources broke through the Appalachian barrier early in
the 18th century. But these continental interiors were only sketchily
reflected on maps prior to 1850.