Skip to main content

Native American Spaces: Cartographic Resources at the Library of Congress

Treaty Boundaries and Cessions

The first permanent Euro-American settlements began a pattern of Indian displacement and land appropriation that continued until the twentieth century. The agreements and treaties which resulted in the progressive extinguishing of Indian title and the cession and surrender of Indian lands were often accompanied, or soon followed, by surveys of the boundaries of the ceded lands. The Geography and Map Division has only a few surveys of individual cessions in the United States. As the records of official governmental decisions and actions, most boundary and cession maps will be found in the Cartographic Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration. In addition to the surveys of Individual cessions, there have been a number of maps that depict the history of the cession of tribal lands. As documentation of tribal land use and occupancy, cession and treaty boundary maps have been important legal sources for Indians for land claims.

Digitized Maps

The maps in this section have been digitized by the Library and are available for viewing and download online. Select the link on the map or in the caption to view a copy of the map that can be enlarge to view the detail.

 

Survey of West Florida and Alabama, 1771

David Taitt. A plan of part of the rivers Tombecbe, Alabama, Tensa, Perdido, & Scambia in the province of West Florida; with a sketch of the boundary between the nation of upper Creek Indians and that part of the province which is contigious thereto, as settled at the congresses at Pensacola in the years 1765 & 1771. ca. 1771. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This manuscript map by surveyor David Taitt was compiled from various surveys on behalf of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District, John Stuart, to delineate one of the boundaries agreed upon between the Creeks and the British at congresses in 1765 and 1771. The boundary confines the British of Georgia and West Florida essentially to coastal areas, thereby ensuring the Creek principle that their nation held the entire southeast interior. The boundary's western terminus at a branch of the Coosa (Alabama) River recognizes the tracts occupied by British colonists north of Mobile Bay. The map also shows two paths to the Creek Nation, one from from Old Spanish Fort and the other from Pensacola, and includes various notes.


Lands Ceded by the Cherokee Indians to the State of South-Carolina,1777

Author unknown. A Map of the lands ceded by the Cherokee Indians to the State of South-Carolina at a congress held in May, A.D. 1777; containing about 1,697,700 acres. ca. 1777. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Shows the lands ceded to the states of South Carolina and Georgia by the Cherokee following their defeat during the American Revolutionary War.

Learn more about this map on the Featured Maps page.


Map of Creek Indians Cessions in Alabama and Georgia, 1816

Author unknown. Map by which the Creek Indians gave their statement at Fort Strother on the 22nd Jany, 1816 : [Alabama and Georgia]. [1816]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Covering Alabama and Georgia from the Tombigbee River in the west to the southern Great Smoky Mountains and the Savannah River in the east, this map essentially depicts the Creek lands in Alabama and Georgia. It apparently was drawn by Major John Coffee, one of the commissioners appointed in 1816 to survey the boundary for the lands ceded by the Creek following their defeat in 1814 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. As an indication of a transfer of authority from the Creek Nation to the United States, it depicts American Army forts in the region. Before beginning this survey, Coffee interviewed some of the Creek headmen regarding the boundaries of the Creek Nation, as indicated by a note on the verso of the map reading "Spokehajo's [spelling unclear] Statement" of the extent of Creek lands.


Map of Indian Lands in Iowa, 1846

Willard Barrows. A new map of Iowa: accompanied with notes by W. Barrows. 1845. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This map shows the lands assigned to the Potawatomi, Sauk and Fox, and Winnebago peoples in Iowa a year prior to statehood in 1846. Map depicts territorial and county boundaries, Native American lands, several treaty lines devised at the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1830, an Indian agency and mission, and Anglo-American settlements.


Former Territorial Limits of the Cherokee Nation, 1884

Charles C. Royce. Map of the former territorial limits of the Cherokee "Nation of" Indians. Exhibiting the Boundaries of the Various Cessions of Land Made by Them to the Colonies of the United States . . .and Map showing the territory originally assigned to the Cherokee "Nation of" Indians west of the Mississippi. Also the Boundaries of the Territory now Occupied or Owned by Them. 1884. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Map includes portions of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky to depict lands originally in Cherokee possession. Also shows Indian place names, paths, and villages.


Judicially Established Indian Land Areas, 1978

U.S. Geological Survey. Indian land areas judicially established. Prepared under the direction of the Indian Claims Commission as a part of its final report. 1978. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Portrays the results of cases before the U.S. Indian Claims Commission or U.S. Court of Claims, in which an American Indian tribe proved their original tribal land occupancy.

Featured Collection

Indian Land Cessions in the U.S., 1784-1894

Indian Land Cessions in the United States, 1784-1894. United States Serial Set Number, 4015, part two of the Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-1897. 1899. Compiled by Charles C. Royce, U.S. Bureau of American Ethnology. 18th Annual Report, 1896-97. Washington, D.C. Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Call number G1201 .G6R7 1899.

This online resource includes the "Schedule of Indian Land Cessions" and the "Schedule of Treaties and Acts of Congress Authorizing Allotments of Land in Severalty," as well as sixty-seven maps outlining those land cessions as the second part of the two-part Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-1897.

The "Schedule of Indian Land Cessions," which comprises 709 entries with links to the related maps, notes in its subtitle that it "indicates the number and location of each cession by or reservation for the Indian tribes from the organization of the Federal Government to and including 1894, together with descriptions of the tracts so ceded or reserved, the date of the treaty, law or executive order governing the same, the name of the tribe or tribes affected thereby, and historical data and references bearing thereon."

Additional Maps in the Library's Collections

The following maps are only available at the Library of Congress in the Geography and Map Reading Room in the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress.

  • Sketch of the coast of which the Creek Indians have been deprived by the Americans on both sides of the River Apalachicola. Author unknown, ca. 1814. Manuscript, pen-and-ink and watercolor, 49 x 60 cm. Scale 1:1,900,000. Call number G3941 .E1 1814 .M Vault
    Maps shows the tribal areas of the southeastern United States. In what is now Alabama, a large area is labeled "Lands which the Americans obliged the Indians to cede lately by which means their communication is cut off from the Sea."
  • [Map Depicting the Lands Ceded to the United States by Treaty at St. Louis, Missouri Territory, on August 24, 1816. John Sullivan, Surveyor of the Indian Boundaries in the State of Illinois.] Traced March 29, 1909, from a brown-line print by Samuel M. Burdett, Engineer Dept., U.S. Topographical Bureau. (s.l.: John Sullivan, 1819) Blueprint map, 33 x 79 cm . Scale not given. Filed at Illinois — Indians — 1819 — no scale — U.S. Topo. Bureau.
    This blueprint is a copy of an original survey of lands ceded to the United States in 1816 by the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Pottawatomi Indians residing along the Illinois and Milwaukee rivers in what is now the state of Illinois. The lands, which encompass the Chicago River and territory north of the Illinois River, included Fort Dearborn (the city of Chicago). The original was drawn by John Sullivan, Surveyor of the Indian Boundaries in the State of Illinois, in 1819, and copied by an engineer of the U.S. Topographical Bureau in 1909.
  • Plat of the Survey of the Delaware Lands and Outlet, north of Kanzas River (on sheet No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3), according to the Treaty of September 24, 1829, ratified by the Senate of the U.S., May 29, 1830. Isaac McCoy, Surveyor, December 30, 1830. Manuscript, pen-and-ink, 33 x 118 cm. Scale 1:320,000. Call number G4200 1830 .M Vault oversize.
    Map is an accurate survey of the boundaries of the strip of land in northeastern Kansas granted to the Delaware Inidans in 1829, which was later surrendered by treaties. The map identifies Indian and English names of rivers. It also depicts the "Old Pawnee Village"; the "Cant (i.e. cantonment) Leavenworth" on the Missouri River; and, along the Kansas River, the "Kanzas Village," "Reservations for Half Breed Kanzas," "La Plume's House," "Kanzas Agency," and "Agriculturist's House." The map is oriented with south at top.
  • A Map of the Choctaw Territory in Alabama, from the United States Surveys, Shewing each Section & Fractional Section. John La Tourrette, 1833. (Mobile: John La Tourrette, 1833). Colored map, 62 x 27 cm. Scale 1:280,000. Filed at Alabama — Choctaw Territory — 1833.
    This commercially issued map was drawn from all the original plats of the surveys of the former Choctaw Territory in Alabama. Because the Choctaw were the first of the "Five Civilized Tribes" forcibly relocated west of the Mississippi between 1830 and 1833, the map depicts Choctaw Territory as it was being opened for White settlement.
  • A Map of the Creek Territory in Alabama, from the United States Surveys, Shewing each Section & Fractional Section: by John La Tourrette. (Mobile: John La Tourrette, 1833). Colored map, 73 x 44 cm. Scale 1:410,000. Filed at Alabama — Indians — 1833 — 1:410,000 — John La Tourrette.
    Published concurrently with his map of the Choctaw Territory, John La Tourrette's 1833 map of the Creek Territory was similarly drawn from the original plats of the surveys of the Creek lands within Alabama. The Muscogee Creek, like their traditional enemies the Choctaw, were considered one of the "Five Civilized Tribes," and were forcibly located to lands west of the Mississippi from 1836 to 1840. This map depicts Creeks lands just a few years prior to their opening for White settlement.
  • Map Exhibiting the position of the Lands occupied by Indian Tribes in Amity with the United States; and also the Lands ceded to the United States by Treaty with various Indian Tribes. Compiled in the Bureau of Topographical Engineers, from the Maps of Capt. Wash. Hood; C.T.E. and I. McCoy, Esq. with additions in compliance with a Resolution of the Senate, 1839. J. Goldsborough Bruff, Del. J. Goldsborough Bruff and Henry S. Tanner, 1839. Colored map, 115 x 192 cm. Scale 1:2,000,000. Call number G3701 .G5 1839 .B Vault.
    This commercially published 1839 wall-sized base map of the United States has been heavily annotated by the U.S. War Department to illustrate cession boundaries and lands occupied by tribes in amity with the U.S. It includes four legends detailing Indian land cessions: 1) lands ceded to the U.S. by Indian tribes individually, and arranged alphabetically, with the name and date of each cession, and numbers indicating their location on the map; 2) the cession of lands to the U.S. by tribes, arranged collectively; 3) lands of each tribe south and west of the Missouri and the Puncah and Red rivers; and 4) lands now [1839] occupied by Indian tribes in amity with the U.S., with a list of names of tribes, treaty names and dates, and Roman numerals indicating their location on the map. Only twelve copies of this map were produced by the War Department.
  • Map of the State of Indiana, Exhibiting the Lands ceded by the Indian Tribes to the United States. Charles C. Royce, ca. 188-. Washington, D.C., Bureau of Ethnology, ca. 188-. Colored map, 81 x 58 cm. Scale 1:633, 600. Filed at Indiana — Indians — 188-?
    Map delineates land cessions in Indiana and locates Native American towns and villages.
  • Garland American Indian Ethnohistory Series. Compiled and edited by David Agree Horr. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. Filed in the General Collections as individual volumes under each tribe's unique classification number.
    Published in the 1970s, the multi-volume Garland American Indian Ethnohistory series contains historical and anthropological documents that were presented as evidence before the Indian Claims Commission in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Map reproductions were often included in the volumes to this series to illustrate the claims of various tribes to certain geographic regions. The documents were drawn from the Commission's files in the National Archives and Records Administration. A microform edition of the records of the Indians Claims Commission, published by Clearwater Publishing Co., 1973-82, is available the Library's Microform and Electronic Resources Center under filing location Microfiche 90/7052; MicRR guide no.: 238a-b.
  • Indian Land Cessions. Sam B. Hilliard. Map supplement no. 16, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 62, June 1972. New York, A.A.G., 1972. Colored map, 114 x 86 cm. Scale ca. 1:10,000,000. Call number G3701 .E1 1972 .H5.
    Seven maps on one sheet: five show the extent of Indian land cessions for the periods 1784-1819, 1820-39, 1840-59, 1860-79, and 1880-1972; while the others show "Land Claim by Tribe" and "Present Indian Reservations."