Map of New England, 1677
Item 104601 info
Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education
Rather than reading colonial maps as factual representations, we should examine them as political documents. This map was created during King Phillip’s War (1675-1678)—when Native people were violently displaced by settlers, and many resisted forced removal from their traditional territories.
This map was the first map printed in New England. Oriented with North to the right, the map's vertical lines marked the northern and southern boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as set forth in their 1629 charter. The mapmakers marked places of conflict between the English and the Indigenous peoples. Numbers indicated the locations of deaths and raids on the English, with numbers corresponding to towns: 42=Kittery; 47=York; 50=Saco River; 51=Wells; 54=Scarborough; 55=Falmouth Neck (now Portland).
This French map shows Indigenous Homelands, settlements, cities, portages, as well as features like mountains, lakes, and rivers. The vertical format elongates the land and distorts its shape.
Reproduction of 1620 Charter from King James I to the Council for New England, 1885
Item 7541 info
Maine Historical Society
In 1606, King James I of England assigned land rights to the Virginia Company for the purpose of spreading Christianity from modern day Florida to Maine. The King provided a new charter in 1620, giving rights of settlement to the Plymouth Company for land previously held by the Virginia Company.
The new land disposition was for "our well-disposed Subjects, that intended to make several Plantations in the Parts of America"—including Ferdinando Gorges.
The colored borders on the map represent Gorges’s patent in yellow, the Kennebec Patent—a later incarnation of the Plymouth Company—in green, and the “Ancient Province of Maine” in blue.
While a number of early maps of Maine show coastline with reasonable accuracy, their representation of the central interior and northern regions were left blank or included imaginary mountains and bodies of water.
Joseph Scott created this map of Maine for the United States Gazetteer by in 1795.
While a number of early maps of Maine show coastline with reasonable accuracy, their representation of the central interior and northern regions were left blank or included imaginary mountains and bodies of water. Surveyors had not explored these regions, and Maine's northern border was not set until 1842.
Amos Doolittle engraved this map in 1796 and author Matthew Carey included the plate in his Carey's American Pocket Atlas.
Moses Greenleaf's Map of the inhabited part of the state of Maine, 1829
Item 11854 info
Maine Historical Society
Moses Greenleaf’s (1777-1834) maps were the first maps of Maine informed by detailed surveys. This map, made nine years after Maine’s statehood, shows the reaches of English-speaking settlements starting in 1778, the representative districts since the year 1820, and the population and valuation of taxable property in each district in 1820.
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