The 1763 Treaty of Paris rewrites the map of North America

Eman[uel] Bowen Geog[raphe]r to His Majesty and John Gibson Engraver, AN Accurate MAP OF NORTH AMERICA. Describing and distinguishing the BRITISH, SPANISH and FRENCH Dominions on this great Continent; According to the Definitive Treaty Concluded at Paris 10th Feby. 1763… London: Robert Sayer, 1755 [but ca. 1763.]
Engraving on four sheets of laid paper, 40 ½”h x 47”w at neat line, vibrant early wash color. Segmented, mounted on linen and housed in a period slipcase.

A splendid example of this important map depicting the impact of the 1763 Treaty of Paris on the British and French imperial holdings in North America.

This important and long-lived map by Emanuel Bowen was first published in 1755, a banner year for the cartography of North America. As the French & Indian War gathered momentum, British and French publishers issued a number of important maps staking aggressive territorial claims on behalf of their respective nations.

The map draws heavily on John Mitchell’s landmark Map of the British and French Dominions in North America, also issued in 1755. Bowen’s debt to Mitchell is particularly evident in his depiction of New England and the Middle Atlantic colonies, the Ohio River and the Great Lakes. However Bowen’s coverage extends much further south and west to take in the West Indies and much of New Spain. The map is rich with information (and supposition), including towns, settlements, native American villages, forts, trails, and dozens of historical, geographical and natural historical notations. An inset at upper left depicts Baffin and Hudson Bays, while one at lower left reproduces the Kino map, which demonstrated California’s peninsular geography. 

Offered here is an example of the rare 2nd edition of the map, the first to feature the results of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which concluded the French and Indian War. Bowen updated his map to reflect the new geopolitical situation in North America, with Britain in control of the eastern half of the continent, the French holding “Louisiana” west of the Mississippi, and Spain holding the far West as well as Central America. Several articles of the Treaty are reproduced in the Atlantic Ocean, and their terms—or Bowen’s interpretation thereof—are reflected on the map itself. Many of the French “usurpations” and “encroachments” shown on the 1755 1st edition of the map have been effaced or renamed (“F. du Quesne,” for example, is now “Fort Pitt.)

The map also appears to show important administrative changes made by George III’s Proclamation of October 1763, including the new provinces of East and West Florida, Grenada and—though it is not named—Quebec. Even more significant for future events is the so-called “Proclamation Line,” also not named but indicated by the pink wash that runs west from the Appalachians. West of this line the British established a reserve for the Native American peoples, in which the American colonists were not allowed to settle. They considered this a shocking injustice, as to their minds the French and Indian War had been fought for the very purpose of rendering the trans-Appalachian frontier safe for settlement.

A number of features in this 2nd edition suggest the unsettled state of affairs in North America as well as the lack of British cartographic knowledge of their newly-gained territory. First, though dotted lines and the placement of their names suggest that Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia extended to the Mississippi or possibly beyond, they are wash colored only as far west as the Appalachians, while the boundaries of New York and Pennsylvania are even more ambiguous. Further to the west, Bowen follows Mitchell in giving the Mississippi a colossal westward sweep north of roughly 35° 30’, along with the note “Mississipi R. its head very Uncertain.” Uncertain or not, this had the effect of greatly extending Britain’s territorial claims at the expense of the French, as Article VII of the Treaty specified the boundary as “a line drawn along the middle of the River Mississippi, from its source to the River Iberville.”

The whole is adorned by a large and decorative title cartouche featuring Native American figures accompanied by an alligator, beaver, parrot and what appear to be monkeys. On this example, both the clarity of the content and the decorative impact are greatly enhanced by the spectacular early wash color.

The map had a long life, with no fewer than 11 states published between 1755 and 1794. The second state offered here is one of the scarcest and most interesting.

In all a significant, monumental and eminently attractive map documenting the sweeping British victory in the French and Indian War.

Cumming, British Maps of Colonial America, p. 60. Phillips, List of Maps of America, p. 589. Pritchard & Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, p. 180. Rumsey #0346.007 (1776 ed.) Sellers & Van Ee, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, #21. Stevens & Tree, “Comparative Cartography,” #49b.


Map with minor soiling, slipcase with light wear, but excellent.