Maps of the original 13 states, as they appeared after the Revolutionary War, can be found on the websites for Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg, Virginia, Historical U.S. Maps and AllPosters.com. Some original states expanded their territories west to the Mississippi River until new states were added.Continue Reading
The Smithfield Plantation map shows how the original 13 states looked in 1779, in the middle of the Revolutionary War. Western boundaries of the states stopped at the Appalachian Mountains. Lands west of the mountains were claimed by the French. Massachusetts claimed territory up into present-day Maine. Territory in Vermont was claimed by both New York and New Hampshire. Virginia included parts of West Virginia.
After the Revolutionary War, the French ceded their territories to the Mississippi River. Great Britain maintained Canada, while the Spanish controlled most of the continent west of the of the Mississippi. States made land claims to the river by 1783. Georgia expanded into territory that is now part of Alabama and Mississippi. North Carolina extended its borders into present-day Tennessee. Virginia claimed parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan before they became states.
Delaware became the first state to ratify the constitution in late 1787, while Rhode Island was the last of the original colonies to do so in May of 1790. Vermont became the 14th state in March 1791, while Kentucky became the 15th state when it broke away from Virginia in June 1792.Learn more about Maps & Cartography