In many senses, New York (and New Amsterdam/New Netherlands) should be considered the center of cartography in Colonial North America. Starting with the skilled Dutch cartographers, the mapping of New York was more regular and detailed then that of other colonies, including its neighbors in New England. As Patricia Seed has argued, the Dutch believed detailed records legitimized their claim to the region. English colonists in New England did not treat maps the same way. They came from more parochial backgrounds in which maps were novelties and curiosities, not useful tools. However, when New York fell into English hands, a different kind of Englishman arrived there. Its new administrators, such as Governor Edmund Andros, were not parochial English townsmen like their New England neighbors. Like the Dutch, they saw the power of maps and wielded them as powerful weapons. The New York City-based administration of Andros would eventually come to export mapping as a tool and force the colonists of the region to acknowledge their import. Under Andros and other governors sent from England, both New York and New England became visualized through countless property maps and detailed maps of the boundaries between colonies.
The fall of New Netherlands to the English at the end of the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the arrival of experienced English administrator changed the cartographic situation in New York. While Dutch cartographers had largely made and published their maps of New York of New York in Amsterdam, the English altered the style of mapping switched the center of cartographic production to New York City. Like with the Dutch, New England colonists viewed New York, and particularly governor Edmund Andros, as threats to their lands. Andros and his family had long supported the crown, while New England has been a center of Puritanism and Parliamentarianism during the commonwealth. Furthermore, almost immediately after its creation, New York began to take land from Connecticut. In 1664, commissioners determined that all of Long Island belonged to New York, ending a persistent claim that Connecticut had maintained. In 1675, with Andros at the helm, New York began to claim rightful ownership of all land up to the Connecticut River. Andros’s timing was perfect and the onset of war between English and Algonquian inhabitants of New England gave him an excuse to send soldiers to occupy Saybrook on the Connecticut River. Colonists attempted to refuse this aid, viewing it as a plot to gain an edge in the emerging dispute over western Connecticut. Andros ignored their protests and personally arrived with soldiers. Connecticut officials decried this act as one that encouraged “the heathen to proceed in the effusion of Christian blood.”
Despite Connecticut’s letters to him on arrival professing friendship, Dongan took a hardline concerning the border. He viewed Connecticuters settling within twenty miles of the Hudson as interlopers and wanted them out of the province. Whereas Connecticut claimed that the River “Mamaranet” started twenty miles away from the Hudson and served as the boundary, Dongan argued that it was not always twenty miles from the Hudson, so instead the boundary was an intangible line. It is in this context that the two agreed to a survey of the border. While Connecticut had also sent a surveyor, John Harriman, the New Yorkers took the lead. The two groups met in Stanford and then proceeded to the mouth of the Byram River (the starting point of the border between Connecticut and New York today). From there they measured in miles and rods as they traveled. The survey used distance and directions from a meridian compass, not latitude and longitude. In incredible detail on the surveying record, the New York surveyors relayed their path, measurements, and conclusions about the border.Attached to the survey was a map (see below) that was unlike anything a Connecticut surveyor could produce. It showed extremely detailed coastlines for the Connecticut shore, the Hudson River, and the other rivers mentioned in the survey. The box included is the territory in discussion, and the dotted line to the far side is “the 20 mile line.” With a map so carefully crafted, Dongan had visual evidence to present to Connecticut, but also visual evidence to show to any Crown commissioners sent to resolve the dispute in the future. While a textual description of what was twenty miles away could be argued with, the clean and accurate-looking lines of the map left little room for debate. This survey ended with Dongan getting much of what he wanted.
The importance of New York and Andros to the adoption of mapping in the region continued past these colonial boundary maps. As Andros ascended to leadership of the Dominion of New England in 1686, he continued to use mapping as a powerful tool in ways that New Englanders could understand. The Dominion unified control of the Northeastern colonies, formerly ruled independently of the crown, under a single royal authority. With his new power, Andros used the maps (cadastral maps) to confirm land grants to New Englanders, which his detractors viewed as a way of doling out favors to his supporters. Indeed, some of these land grants did go to powerful members of the Dominion. However, these grants also had a more subtle power. As in New York, by having government surveyors map and document land grants, Andros centralized and expanded the role of the government.
The English surveyors made extremely detailed maps. The New York City based surveyor, Philip Welles, made dozens of maps during his career that included much greater detail than any produced by a New England based surveyor. The map below is a good example of Welles’s style. Showing the farm of an important colonial officer, the map delineated borders, at times using natural features but generally using a coordinate system. This grid system was one of many things that set Welles apart from many of his counterparts. Instead, they relied on landmarks such as large trees and stone piles to spatially anchor there surveys. Welles also included boundaries between meadowland and farmland. By including these details, these maps included information superfluous to their purpose. They existed to establish boundaries, but Welles’s maps told the reader more. When other surveyors did bother to include natural features, like a pond or reader, they drew them free hand, paying little attention to accuracy. Welles’ natural features clearly show tremendous care. This skill, wielded for powerful men, became force to be reckoned with that forced those who had to grapple with it to acknowledge the power of mapping.
Nathan Braccio is a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut and holds an MA in history from American University. His dissertation examines the linked development of Algonquian and English spatial cultures in 17th-century New England.
 Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 149-178.
 Seed, 149-154, 162-163.
 For more on the Block map and its role in the creation of other Dutch maps, see David Y. Allen, “Dutch and English Mapping of Seventeenth-Century Long Island,” in The Long Island Historical Journal 4, No. 1 (Fall 1991), 46-48.
 Richard Nicolls, George Cartwright, and Samuel Mavericke, “A copy of the Determination of his Majesties Commissioners Concerning the bounds of his Royal Highness the Duke of Yorke's Patent & the Colony of Connecticut's Patent,” 30 November 1664, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #22, Hartford, CT.
 Gerchsam, Bulhely, Joshua Haynes, Thomas Bull, and Robert Chapman, “Letter to the General Court,” July 12, 1675, Colonial Boundaries, Series 1, Vol. 2, CT State Archive.
 Connecticut Colonial Declaration Regarding the Arrival of Edmund Andros in Saybrook, July 1675, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #32.
 Calendar of Council Minutes, 1668-1783 (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1903), 11, 22, 34, 49, 61.
 Connecticut General Council to Thomas Dongan, 5 October 1683, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #42; Thomas Dongan to the Governor and Council of Connecticut, 9 October 1683, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #43; Thomas Dongan to Robert Treat, 5 November 1683, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #45.
 Report of the Commissioners from New York, 26 September 1684, CT State Archive, Colonial Boundaries, 1st Series, Volume 2, #46;
 Calendar of N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts: Indorsed Land Papers; In the Office of the secretary of State of New York, 1643-1803 (Albany: Weed, Paterson & Co., 1864), 30, 48, 71, 120, 129 140, 141, 170.
 One such supporter was the powerful colonist and one-time governor of the Dominion, Joseph Dudley. Edmund Andros, “Warrant to survey and lay out Manchaog farme for Joseph Dudley and William Stoughton Esqrs,” 2 January, 1687 in “Land Warrants Issued Under Andros, 1687-1688,” edited by Julius Tuttle, in Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Vol. 21 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1920), 314