Maps of Fancy

Thomas Jefferson’s 1787 Proposed Map of the United States

During the sweltering summer of 1787, while the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention sweated and debated the framework of our new government, they also passed the Northwest Ordinance. The Northwest Territories were the first major land acquisition for the then still young United States. At that time, Thomas Jefferson took a wack at subdividing this new territory and the pictured map shows his thoughts. Interestingly, he had Michigan in what is now Wisconsin. He named Michigan’s lower peninsula Cerronesus and its upper peninsula Sylvania. Here are all of the numbered territories: 

  1. Sylvania
  2. Michiganta
  3. Cerronesus
  4. Assenisipia
  5. Metropotamia
  6. Illinoia
  7. Saratoga
  8. Washington
  9. Polypotamia
  10. Pelisipia 
  11. to 14. Not Named

Ohio got named Washington and Indiana was named Saratoga. It seems that he lost interest with this map about the time he got to the south. This map was on display in the Museum of Westward Expansion, what we now call the Arch. Jefferson went on as president to purchase the Louisiana territory, on the western edge of this map, but this map shows that his interest in the western expansion of the United States began much earlier than that. 

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