Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 82

"North America", Anon.

Subject: North America

Period: 1843 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

8.6 x 10.5 inches
21.8 x 26.7 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.

This handsome map of the continent likely comes from a geography book. The Independent Republic of Texas is depicted with a long stovepipe panhandle. California and the present-day southwestern United States are still under Mexican control, and the name New Albion appears by Cape Mendocino. The Northwest extends well into Canada geographically showing the Fifty-four Forty or Fight dispute with Britain. Alaska is labeled Russian Possessions. The lengths of rivers and population figures are shown. A note by the Polar Sea reads, "Sea seen by McKenzie." The map extends to include Iceland, with Mt. Hekla located.


Condition: A

Minor soiling and a few minute worm holes that are only visible when held up to light.

Estimate: $130 - $160

Sold for: $95

Closed on 9/13/2017