TL;DR -- Having seen a map of North American dated in 1794, this post was imperative. In the map, the interior is mostly unknown. One fact that stood out was Taos, in New Mexico, which attests to the long influence of Spain. We look at some of the developments over the years since then, starting with the Lewis & Clark trek which was funded by the administration of President Thomas Jefferson.
We have many posts dealing the the carving of the interior of the U.S. during the frontier century starting with Jedediah Strong Smith's journeys through the west, looking at Judge Thompson's travels, and considering the changes during the period of the influence of the trapper, the trader, and the rancher as civilization moved continually westward. Plus many other themes with respect to this long period of activity over the whole of the interior.
Sam Dunn was a London mathematician and mapper who did a series of maps of the world. His abstract look at the New World in 1794 is interesting, for several reasons. There was not much knowledge about the interior except for personal knowledge by the trappers until the official look by Lewis&Clark which was ordered by Prez Jefferson in 1804.
|North America, 1794|
This map illustrates several points. For one, the view is not bad considering the input which would have been scribbled maps and text. Our abstraction ability allows this talent to shine. And, it is pertinent today due to technology's introduction of the computer. More on that through time. Another point is that the interior of this view did not account for the mountains that range top to bottom. Mountains? Yes, lots and lots. Colorado has many over 14K feet. Also, the River of the West was a nice hypothesis that didn't pan out.
Lots to look at, over time. In terms of rivers, the Arkansas is there. The Missouri is truncated. We see the Rio Grande and the Colorado mentioned, albeit some corrections are necessary. However, notice Taos is located somewhat correctly, so we do see Spanish influence. And, France's northern information is there. The big unknown? The U.S. and its west. That was an era and location still pending.