The First Fifty Years


Map of the United States in North America with the British, French, and Spanish Dominions

Copyrighted months before the Treaty of Paris was actually signed, this map depicts an extremely young United States. Bordered by the Mississippi in the west and the Atlantic in the east, the territory claimed by the U.S. includes the thirteen original states. The map offers a wealth of information, including the locations of fishing banks, forts, and settlements of both non-native and native peoples.

The United States of America according to the Treaty of Peace of 1784

This map was made after Vermont and Kentucky were admitted into the Union. While it was produced only a decade or two after the Treaty of Paris, which it refers to as the Treaty of Peace of 1784, the country’s westward movement is illustrated by the existence of “Army Lands” to the south and west of Kentucky and company lands along western rivers. A large track of land belonging to the “Ohio Company” is shown nestled in the curve of the Ohio River, and another track of land between the Wabash River and the Mississippi is labeled as belonging to the Illinois Company, Wabash Company, and N. Jersey Company.

While the relative locations of many native peoples are acknowledged in the western portions of the country, the eastern areas are devoid of such designations. Particularly suspicious is the absence of any mention of the Cherokees, who had an organized national government by this time.

Almost five feet wide and three feet high, this massive map reveals a significantly expanded United States after the Louisiana Purchase. With information from the Lewis and Clark expedition and others, the detail on this map is almost overwhelming. The locations of hundreds of Native American villages and lands can be found in both the western and eastern regions, with the Cherokees and Creeks shown in western Georgia. Only one year previously, the U.S. government had formed the first reservation for the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, marking the beginning of the removal era.