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A MAP/ of the BRITISH EMPIRE in/ AMERICA/ with the FRENCH and SPANISH/ SETTLEMENTS adjacent thereto.

Origin: Great Britain, England, London
Overall: 101 1/4 × 98 × 2 1/2in. (101 1/4 × 98 × 2 1/2in.)
Black and white line engraving with period hand color on laid paper mounted on linen
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1955-408
The cartouche in the lower left corner reads: "A MAP/ of the BRITISH EMPIRE in/ AMERICA/ with the FRENCH and SPANISH/ SETTLEMENTS adjacent thereto./ by Henry Popple./ C. Lempriere inv. & del./ B. Baron sculp."

The lower right cartouche reads: "To the QUEEN's MOST/ EXCELLENT MAJESTY/ This MAP is most humbly/ Inscribed by/ Your MAJESTY's/ most Dutiful, most/ Obedient, and most/ Humble Servant/ Henry Popple."

Label:The most significant and interesting eighteenth century work in the field of cartography was the mapping of Colonial America. For the English, maps depicting holdings and boundaries were particularly important in light of previous conflicts with the French and Spanish. During the early years of the eighteenth century there was growing concern over French explorations in the Mississippi Valley, which stimulated map production for a variety of reasons. Colonial officials and colonists as well needed accuarate maps illustrating the land, waterways, forts, and settlements. Maps were also essential for domestic political reasons. They delineated and served to legitimize boundaries and helped define British economic interests in the New World. Henry Popple's map of the British Empire in America, his only major cartographic work, was the largest printed map of the continent made during the colonial period. Published in 1733, it was compiled from a variety of French and English sources available to him through family connections with the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. Although the map was criticized because Popple used numerous French sources that defined boundaries unfavorable to English claims, it was distributed by the Board of Trade to the government of every colony in America. During the eighteenth century this map could have been purchased mounted on rollers and colored, as this fine example is, bound in atlas form, or in twenty loose sheets.