Cartography, Colonies, and the 1766 Expedition

Colby, Cameron, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Edelson, S. Max, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Taylor, Alan, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

The 1766 expedition represented a significant undertaking for the British Army in North America. General Thomas Gage deployed his best agents into the interior. The Chief Engineer in America, Harry Gordon, spent seven months traveling the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Thomas Hutchins recorded the navigability of the Ohio and the potential for western settlement. George Croghan met with Ohio and Illinois tribes to establish a new British peace in the Indian Reserve. Borderland agents and transatlantic experiences shaped the British occupation of the continent. This expedition exemplified the dichotomies pulling at the evolving British state as it attempted to gain control of its newly won empire after 1763. This essay contextualizes maps surrounding the 1766 expedition, building upon Allison Games’ Web of Empires cosmopolitan agents operating worldwide, Stephen Warren’s “parochial cosmopolitan” Shawnee diplomats who stitched borderlands together, and Matthew Edney and Richard Drayton’s cartographic improvements within British systems. The maps generated by the 1766 expedition of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers exemplify how borderland tactics increased in scale, trans-Atlantic experiences shaped imperial actions, and cartographic ventures codified colonial opportunities.

MA (Master of Arts)
1766, Ohio River, Illinois Country, Thomas Gage, Harry Gordon, Thomas Hutchins, George Croghan, Cartography, Colonies, British Army, Military Survey, British Survey, Indian Reserve, Proclamation Line of 1763, 60th Royal Americans, Fort Chartres, Fort Pitt
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