As a result of Great Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War, British North America expanded so that it stretched from the Atlantic seaboard west to the Mississippi River and from Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to Florida. Plus, it also included islands in the Caribbean.
How exactly would Great Britain, centered on a small island over 3,000 miles away, govern this new, expanded North American empire?
Max Edelson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia and author of The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence, helps us explore this question by taking us on an investigation of the Board of Trade and its General Survey of North America.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Max Edelson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia and author of The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence, helps us explore how Great Britain intended to govern its newly expanded empire in North America by taking us on an investigation of the Board of Trade and its General Survey of North America.
As we explore the Board of Trade’s plans for British North America, Max reveals details about the size of the British Empire after the Seven Years’ War; King George III’s order to the Board of Trade and its response to that order; And, information about the General Survey of North America and how the Board of Trade envisioned surveys and maps as the key to Great Britain’s better management of its North American colonies.
What You’ll Discover
- The British Empire after the Seven Years’ War
- How Great Britain intended to govern its expanded North American empire
- The Board of Trade
- King George III’s orders to the Board of Trade concerning colonial governance
- “The Report on Acquisitions in America”
- The General Survey of North America
- Samuel Holland and the Survey of St. John and the Canadian Maritimes
- How to conduct a plane table survey
- The Proclamation Line of 1763
- Native American response to Great Britain’s maps and General Survey
- Native American-made maps
- How the surveys informed the incorporation of new peoples into the British Empire
- The Ceded Islands
- The role the maps of the General Survey played in the American Revolution
- How geography and maps can help us better understand the American Revolution
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Max Edelson
- The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence
- Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina
- Maps from Max’s Book
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- D.W. Meinig, The Shaping of America
- Bonus: Mapping America’s War for Independence
- Episode 151: Defining the American Revolution
- Episode 152: Origins of the American Revolution
- Episode 162: Dunmore’s New World: The British Empire and the American Revolution
- Episode 177: Martin Brückner, The Social Life of Maps in America
In your opinion, what might have happened if the Board of Trade had never ordered its General Survey of North America and the Ceded Islands? How would the history of British North America be different?
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