18th Century Maps, 19th Century Maps, American Maps, Copperplate, Engraving, Maps, Past/Present

Past/Present: Maps of the American Northeast

Today we have a new P/P post, featuring two maps of the American Northeast. Both show the northeast coast, focusing on settlement and prominent land features. The older map is by Giles  Robert de Vaugondy. Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1686-1766) and his son Didier (1723-1786) were descended from the famous N. Sanson family of cartographers. Titled Partie de l’Amerique Septentrionale, this attractive map depicts the eastern colonies between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and the Atlantic, plus a small part of Upper Canada. A large inset details the South Carolina coast; it shows the coastline of the Carolinas and Georgia, from Cape Fear to the Florida Border. This map was based on John Mitchell’s great map of North America from the same year. This map has great coverage of the river systems and settlements along the coast and inland to the Mississippi River.  It incorporates both French and English information for the lands north of the Ohio River. Because both countries claimed the area, the mapmakers included every settlement or Indian village which might advance the claim of either France or England.

Some sixty years later, J. Thompson published a map in Edinburgh in 1817, depicting the same American east coast. This large-scale map of the Northeast provides a great deal of information, including towns, rivers and other topographical features, but not county boundaries. Vermont, Maine and Canadian boundaries are yet to be definitive. An inset of The Great Falls of Niagara appears at upper left.

Image on Left: Partie de l’Amerique Septentrionale, qui comprend le Cours de l’Ohio, la Nlle. Angleterre, la Nlle York, le New Jersey, la Pensylvanie, le Maryland, la Virginie, la Carolina. by Robert de Vaugondy.  Published by Giles and Didier Robert de Vaugondy, Paris. Copperplate engraving with original outline coloring, 1755-56.

Image on Right: Northern Provinces of the United States by J. Thomson. Published in Thomson’s “New General Atlas.” Copper engraving with original wash color, 1817.



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