"Amerique Septentrionale", Levasseur, Victor
Subject: North America
Period: 1845 (circa)
Publication: Atlas Universel Illustre
Color: Hand Color
17 x 11.6 inches
43.2 x 29.5 cm
Victor Levasseur's "Atlas National Illustre" and "Atlas Universel Illustre" are among the last decorative atlases published. The maps are all lavishly illustrated with scenes of the countryside, products and activities indigenous to the region.
This richly engraved map of North America shows the United States' claims into present-day Canada reflecting the Oregon boundary dispute. The Republic of Texas is shown, and Mexico's northern border is drawn according to the Treaty of 1819 (here misprinted as 1810). Russia is in control of Alaska. The map is surrounded by beautifully engraved scenes of North and Central America including wildlife, a ship stranded in the polar sea and a Mayan temple.
The Oregon boundary dispute grew from competing interests in the Pacific Northwest between the United States and Britain, which had been jointly occupied since the compromise agreed at the Anglo-American Convention of 1818. The region encompassed the territory west of the Continental Divide, north of the 42nd parallel north, and south of the parallel 54°40' north. Known as the Columbia District in Britain, the region was a fur-trading division of the Hudson's Bay Company. Referred to as Oregon Territory in the United States, it became the focus the expansionary sentiment that dominated American politics in the middle of the 19th century. These expansionist desires were expressed by James Polk's famous presidential campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan also became a rally cry for Americans desiring to settle the territory. Following Polk's election, the dispute was resolved by the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which struck a compromise that fixed the U.S./Canadian boundary at the 49th parallel.