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Did you know that Native Americans made maps long before the early 1500s, when European explorers began to visit the shores of North America? In fact, historians tell us, European settlers often relied upon Native American maps to help them get around.

Over time, as the American colonies grew, new forms of mapmaking replaced the geographic knowledge of the Native Americans. Land surveyors used triangulation (a way to measure a straight line over the Earth's curved surface). Since the need for accurate maps was vital to a new country, many notable citizens trained as mapmakers. Before he was President, George Washington made detailed maps of Virginia. And statesman Benjamin Franklin created the first known map of the Gulf Stream.

Nermin Veljacic, 12, from Chicago, Illinois, is interested in U.S. firsts.

Q Who made the first map of the U.S.?

A. Abel Buell, a silversmith turned mapmaker, created the first map of the U.S. Buell published his map in the Connecticut Journal on March 31,1784, seven months after the Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution and established the U.S. as a sovereign nation. Buell claimed that his map was "the first ever compiled, engraved, and finished by one man, and an American."

Although several individuals from different nations mapped North America long before Buell did, historians support his claim that his map is the first American map of America by an American!
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Title Annotation:Abel Buell drew first map of the US
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 2, 2000
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