Michigan State University

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1785, Etats Unis de l'Amerique Septentrionale

This map captures the state of affairs in the short period between the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and the formation of the Northwest Territory in 1787. When the United States successfully broke with Great Britain it consisted of 13 states and a considerable amount of unorganized territory. The exact boundaries of the states, especially their western boundaries, were quite imprecise.

The text mentions 10 new states to be made of the unorganized territory north of the Ohio River. Thomas Jefferson provided suggested names in a 1784 resolution: Silvania, Michigania, Chersonesus, Arsenistpia, Metropotamia, Illinoia, Saratoga, Washington, Polypotamia, and Pelisypia.

This represents the first time that ‘Michigan’ was applied to a land area on a map.

The map extends far to the West to include the Rio Grande [Rio del Norte] and areas that in a few years would be included in the Louisiana Purchase. Numerous Native American groups and settlements are noted, including Sioux, Padouca, and Apaches. In maps of this era, the Florida peninsula is often fractured into numerous pieces.

This map was a generous gift of Ron Dietz.

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