The exploration of North America by non-indigenous people passed over centuries and consisted of many people and voyages from different foreign countries to map this continent. Below the historical atlas of America’s most amazing maps.
16th-century maps of America
First printed map of the American continents by Sebastian Münster (1554)
Map of the Americas by Abraham Ortelius (1570)
17th-century maps of America
Map of the Americas by Frederik de Wit (1610)
Nicholas Sanson’s map of Florida, New Mexico and the island of California, 1656
“Americae Nova Descriptio…” (1663)
1681 map of the New World: New France & the Great Lakes in the north which shows the results of the expeditions of Father Marquette and L. Jolliet (1673) & the Cavelier de la Salle expedition in the Mississipi river valley
New Netherland, by Nicolaas Visscher II (1684)
18th-century maps of America
Map of North America (1714)
Map of North America [Codfish map] (1720)
Recens edita totius Novi Belgii in America Septentrionali siti (1730)
Incredibly detailed map of America (1733)
Map of the Americas (1740)
North America and Greenland, with adjacent parts of Europe and Asia (1772).
This map was drawn by Gilles Robert de Vaugondy to illustrate the mythical voyage of Captain Cluny
A map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto, (1775)
11 proposed territories in the U.S. (1778)
The Thirteen Original States, 1783
“A new and correct map of the United States of North America” is the first map of the U.S. drawn and printed in the US by an American; it was printed in Connecticut by Abel Buell in March 1784, six months after the Treaty of Paris
19th-century maps of America
Ottoman map of the US from the Cedid Atlas (1803)
Map of the United States of America: with the contiguous British and Spanish possessions (1816)
United States of America (1822)
Atlas of North America that shows British Columbia (then apart of the Oregon Country) as an American possession (1826)
North and South America, 1828
Map of the USA (1839)
The Republic of Texas and the US (1841), Paris
Map of America (1843)
Mitchell Wall Map of the United States (1845)
Political map of the United States (1850)
Map of the U.S. targeting Norwegian immigrants, including where cheap unappropriated land is still available, a little flag for the largest Norwegian settlements (1853)
Ranney’s new map of the United States (1854)
Map of the United States of America, Central America and northern South America (1857)
Map of the United States and Mexico (1859)
U.S. slave population (1860)
Map showing the distribution of the slave population of southern states of the United States compiled from the Census of 1860.
Confederate and Union Possession (December 31st, 1863)
The U.S., as Traitors and Tyrants, Would Have It (1864)
Lloyd’s New Map of the United States (1864), showing every railroad and railroad station, in addition to the territories occupied by the USA and CSA as the civil war was ongoing.
The distribution of wealth (1870) Map compiled from the “Tables of True Valuation”, Ninth Census of the United States 1870.
River Systems of the United States (1870)
Propaganda from 1888. Liberty begins in Plymouth under the guide of the Bible and takes the U.S. across the Great Plains towards Immortality (i.e. San Francisco); Slavery, on the other hand, starts in Jamestown without any Bible and leads the USA on the path to Hades (i.e. Abilene, Texas).
Map of the United States Showing, in Six Degrees, the Density of Population (1890)
Map of the United States showing Routes of Principal Explorers from 1501 to 1844. Engraved and printed by the U.S. Geological Survey (1907)
20th-century maps of America
A 1917 map advocating for women’s suffrage
“The Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba extended full suffrage to their women in 1916. Ontario gave them full suffrage in March 1917.”
Relative sizes of the United States and the European powers (1920)
The relative size of each of the United States if based on electrical energy sold for light and power (1921)
The Top 10 states in terms of electricity used were: #1 New York, #2 Pennsylvania, #3 California, #4 Illinois, #5 Ohio, #6 Michigan, #7 Massachusetts, #8 Washington (state), #9 Montana, #10 Wisconsin.
United States Highways (1926)
These National Highways will also act as State Highways and as County Roads and Town or Township Roads for the localities through which they pass. These National Highways will give North and South and East and West main trunk roads between all the county Seats in all the 3067 Counties of the 48 States. These National Highways will thus at one cost become the main trunk roads of the communities thru which they pass, the Towns or Townships. the Counties, the States, and thus the Nation. Such a system of National Highways will be paid for out of general taxation. So paid the cost will be equitably distributed. The 9 rich densely populated northeastern States will pay over 50 percent of this cost. They can afford to, as they will gain the most. Over 40 percent will be paid by the great wealthy cities of the Nation. They also can afford this, for next to the 9 northeastern States they gain more than the great agricultural States. The farming regions of the West, Mississippi Valley, South-west, and South will pay less than 10 percent of the cost and get 90 percent of the mileage. These 39 States should have this mileage to the advantage and profit of the entire Nation. The building and maintenance of these National Highways by the United States Government will thus relieve the States, the Counties, the Towns or Townships of the cost of building and maintaining these trunk Highways. The funds of the States, the Counties, and the Towns or Townships can, therefore, be used for their secondary and other roads less costly to build and maintain.
If we enter a World War – and LOSE, Los Angeles Examiner (November 14, 1937)
The United States, with the greatest resources on earth, would suffer the fate of Poland, Austria, and Germany – our prized lands would be divided among conquerors.
If you enjoyed these maps you may also be interested in: “How the World was Imagined: First Maps and Atlases”