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Daniel Crouch Rare Books

A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto.

A profound statement of England’s designs for dominance of the North American continent

2500 by 2300mm (98.5 by 90.5 inches).


One of the two most important maps of North America published in the eighteenth century on a grand scale: along with John Mitchell’s ‘Map of the British & French Dominions in North America’, Popple’s map was a profound statement of England’s designs for dominance of the North American continent; at a time when colonial control of North America was by no means certain.

Popple’s map is the first large scale printed map to show, and name, the thirteen British colonies. Nearly eight feet square when joined, the map shows the extent, not just of the British, but also the French, and Spanish colonial possessions of North and Central America, and the West Indies. 

“Little is known of Henry Popple, except that he came from a family whose members had served the Board of Trade and Plantations for three generations, a connection that must have been a factor in his undertaking the map, his only known cartographic work” (McCorkle). His father and grandfather both served as secretary to the board. When his father resigned, Henry’s brother, Alured, inherited the post. Henry was offered a clerkship in 1727. “Finding that position unprofitable, he resigned to work as a private financial agent for the West Indian governors and some British regiments. In that capacity he appeared before the commissioners on numerous occasions” (Pritchard & Taliaferro). Alured eventually accepted the post of governor of Bermuda, in which post he was succeeded by another brother, William.

On close examination, an engraved dashed line identifying the boundaries of the colonial powers can be seen. However, to facilitate a clearer visual depiction of these boundaries, Popple devised a colour scheme for depicting the claims of the various colonial powers. As noted by Babinski:

“The typical coloring [sic] of fully colored copies... is described best by a contemporary manuscript legend on the end-paper affixing the Key map to the binding in the King George III copy at the British Library: Green - Indian Countrys. Red - English. Yellow - Spanish. Blue - French. Purple - Dutch”.

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