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Unit 2. A New General Map of America

Emmanuel Bowen's map of North and South America, 1752
Bowen’s map of North and South America, 1752.
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Emanuel Bowen, an 18th century English mapmaker and printer, made this map in London in 1752. It measures 20 ¾ inches by 17 inches. Source: SHSND 970.1752 B675.

Emmanuel Bowen’s map of North and South America is the earliest in this document set. The British North American colonies had not yet rebelled against King George III to form the United States, and the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763) had not yet determined the western boundary of the English colonies along the Appalachian divide.

Though Bowen’s details of the east coast are pretty accurate, the northern Great Plains is blank from Lake Superior to the western coast. French trader and explorer La Verendrye had visited the Mandan Villages on the Missouri River (see Unit 2 Document Set 2) nearly 15 years earlier, but his maps were apparently not known to Emanuel Bowen. Bowen places Indian tribes in the central and southern plains (Osages, Panis, Apaches, Paducahs), but appears to have no information concerning the peoples of the northern plains.

Map Activity: Bowen claims in the label on this map that he has referred to “several Accurate particular Maps and Charts.” Do you think his research was thorough? Where would he find map data on North America?