1755 – A general map of the middle British colonies in America

Lewis Evans & Carington Bowles, 1771

Map courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The Map

Lewis Evans’ General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America, published in 1755, was one of the most significant and influential maps of Colonial America. Evans described the land beyond the British frontier into the Ohio territory with great amounts of new information, offering potential settlers, speculators, and military officials the most detailed and accurate look at the lands to the west.

The map and Evans’ accompanying 32-page Analysis provide information about the navigability of rivers; types of soil; the location of natural resources such as coal, petroleum, and lead deposits; and other natural-historical information such as the location of “elephant bones” along the Ohio River. The map shows the location of the various Native American tribes, with comments about their strengths, affiliations, and degrees of friendliness toward both the British and French.

General Edward Braddock used the map in his failed campaign to take the French stronghold Fort Duquesne at the beginning of the French and Indian War. George Washington also relied on Evans’ map during that war, later commenting that it was “done with amazing exactness.”