Map, "A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America"

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  • Cartographer: John Mitchell; Engraver: Thomas Kitchin
  • Great Britain, London, England
  • February 13, 1755
  • Black and white line engraving with period color
  • 1955-407

By 1750, Dr. John Mitchell and the commissioners of the Board of Trade recognized the need for a comprehensive map that illustrated all of Britain's American holdings and counteracted French claims. The Board of Trade commissioned Mitchell, who had recently returned from Virginia, to undertake the project, providing him with access to all of the maps, charts, journals, and reports belonging to the Board of Trade as well as the records of the British Admiralty. Attempting to prevail over French claims, Mitchell meticulously researched the original charters of each of the colonies and included his findings on the map. His work was immediately recognized for the political assertions it made on Britain's behalf.

Mitchell was not a mapmaker by profession; rather, he was a medical doctor, natural philosopher, and botanist of considerable merit. Yet, his sole cartographic endeavor, A MAP of the British and French Dominions in North America, was perhaps the greatest one produced of the American colonies. So highly regarded was his work that it was selected as the document that Great Britain and the United States used to determine the geographic boundaries of the new nation at the Treaty of Paris, 1783, which terminated the Revolutionary War.

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