Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 86

"Amerique Septentrionale", Selves, H.

Subject: North America

Period: 1836 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

13.3 x 16.4 inches
33.8 x 41.7 cm

The United States and Great Britain established in 1818 joint claim over the Oregon Territory - the region north of Spanish controlled Upper California up to the southern boundary of Russia's Alaska Territory at North latitude 54°40'. By the late 1830's this arrangement was beginning to fall apart. In the 1840's the expansionist Democrats, including their 1844 presidential candidate, James Polk, claimed the entire region for the United States. Their expansionist desires were expressed by Polk's famous 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 49º North.

An interesting copper engraved map that shows the Independent Republic of Texas even though the coloring suggests it is under the control of Mexico. This French map portrays the United States extending well into British Columbia, cartographically taking the side of the United States in what would eventually become known as the Fifty-four Forty or Fight controversy. Alaska is Amerique Russe, and all of Canada is Nouvelle Bretagne. Mexico controls the Southwest. A portion of Nouvelle Californie is labeled Partie inconnue ("unknown part"). Regional and colonial ownership is shown via hand coloring as given by the key at lower left beneath the title cartouche. An uncommon map by a seldom seen publisher.


Condition: B+

There are a few light stains, a centerfold separation at left that extends 1" into the image closed on verso with archival tape, and several miniscule holes at left and right that are only visible when held up to light.

Estimate: $140 - $170


Closed on 5/20/2015