TITLE: Mapping the New Empire: Britain's General Survey of North America, 1763-1782
SPEAKER: Max Edelson
EVENT DATE: 04/16/2008
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Britain's decisive victory in the Seven Years' War dramatically enlarged its American empire. Once confined to the coastal plain, British North America extended after 1763 from Hudson's Bay to the Florida Keys and past the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, at least on paper. To understand these new territories and bring them under control, the Board of Trade launched the General Survey of North America. The maps and charts created by this vast cartographic project were intended as blueprints for an expansive new empire. Although the unfinished Survey collapsed during the chaos of the American Revolution, its findings were incorporated into the famed Atlantic Neptune atlas and appeared on maps issued to British commanders. Through the War for Independence and beyond, the General Survey provided a critical foundation of geographic knowledge about the continent.
Speaker Biography: Max Edelson is the Kislak Fellow in American Studies at the Library of Congress. He is also associate professor of history at the University of Illinois.