2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


Did you know?
Introduction Section 1:
Cultural Assumption
Section 2:
Ethnographic Record
Section 3:
Section 4:
Political Instrument
Section 5:
Section 6:
Art & Craft
Section 7:
Biographies of Mapmakers & Artists Bibliography

In Western societies, maps evolved as part of a tradition that perceived land as a something one could buy, sell, control, and exploit. Thus, maps, like muskets and warships, became tools of European hegemony in the New World. Kings and wealthy landowners sponsored the creation of new maps, which were then often used for political reasons, such as claiming territory, or economic ones, such as financing expeditions or staking out trade routes.

A "war of maps" waged between England and France during the first half of the eighteenth century exemplifies how maps were used by competing European powers to claim territory in the New World. This cartographic confrontation culminated with the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Years' War in Europe), which in turn ended with the expulsion of France from the North American continent.

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Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi Dressée sur un grand nombre de Memoires
[Map of Louisiana and the Course of the Mississippi Drawn from a Large Number of Reports]

Guillaume Delisle, mapmaker
Paris, June 1718
The first "shot" fired in the war of maps features North America from Long Island to the Rio Grande and southward to the Florida peninsula. Made by Delisle for the Company of the West, it had a distinct political purpose: to circumscribe and minimize Britain's western territories. Delisle characterized "Caroline" as discovered, named, settled, and possessed by France. This map also delineated French claims to the Rio Grande as the boundary line between Louisiana and Spanish Mexico.

Gift of Helen and Solis Seiferth


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A New Map of ye North Parts of America claimed by France under ye Names of Louisiana, Mississipi, Canada & New France, with the Adjoyning Territories of England & Spain
H[erman] Moll, mapmaker
London, 1732
This map was Britain's reply to Delisle's 1718 map. Because Britain had already established trading posts among the Indians in these regions, Moll extended the British borders of Carolina westward into territory along the Mississippi River already claimed by France.

Gift of the Friends of the Cabildo


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Carte de la Louisiane et des Pays Voisins
[Map of Louisiana and the Neighboring Regions]

Jacques N. Bellin, cartographer
Paris, 1755
The next battle in the "war of the maps" came from Jacques Bellin. In this work, Bellin attempted to locate the Spanish, French, and British settlements along the eastern seaboard. All of the English colonies are closely contained east of the Appalachian mountains.

This map is one of the better imitations of Delisle's 1718 map of Louisiana. However, Bellin did not include De Soto's route to the west, eliminated several outdated references, and added information derived from recent explorations.

Gift of Samuel Wilson


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A Map of the British and French Settlements in North America . . .
containing Part of New York, Pensilvania, New Jersey, Mary Land, Virginia, North & South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and all the Countries Westward in the same Parallels so far as Discovered, shewing the Course of the Rivers Ohio, Missisipi &c. exhibiting the just Boundaries & the French Encroachments

T[homas] Bowen, mapmaker
London, 1755
Bowen's response to Bellin was this map, which includes, in the upper left corner, a legend asserting that Virginia and New England extended "from the Atlantic ocean to the South sea."