I’ve always loved this 1784 map of the United States produced by Abel Buell.
One of the most striking differences from the modern maps of this region is the massive area of disjointed territory that is classified as Connecticut as well as the western extensions of most southern states. This map’s title is a stunning as it’s cartography. Entitled “A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America,” this made is a making a bold political statement, not just attempting to describe the current borders. At this point it is important to note that Abel Buell, the engraver who created this made was from Connecticut and this map was commissioned by the Governor and State of Connecticut. As a National Geographic reproduction of this map states, “He [Buell] portrayed the confused status of Connecticut’s western claim, which is based on the 1662 charter to all land between the 41st and 42nd parallels.” Both Pennsylvania and Connecticut encouraged residents to settle this region, and Connecticut was not to be deterred by the fact that New York State’s eastern border functionally ended Connecticut’s claim to the land. Despite the map, Connecticut eventually retracted their claim to land in Pennsylvania and even lands in Ohio as well.
But beyond being a gorgeous map and a an early attempt to use a map to legitimatize territorial claims in United States history, I’m thrilled with this map because it is now a part of my home decor. My crafty and ingenious spouse collected assorted items (all free discarded items, mind you) to put together this fantastic end table!
With a little bit of paint (okay it’s now a $4 investment) and a lot of hard work and love, this is the end product. There isn’t a thing about this table that doesn’t make me just positively elated.