England's geography at the close of the American Revolution is portrayed on this map by Thomas Kitchen, hydrographer to the British King. Administratively, the country was divided into shires or counties, the names of which were often transplanted to towns and counties in British North America. According to the legend, there was also a well-ordered hierarchy of urban settlements, identified as cities, county towns, boroughs, market towns, and villages.
The importance of London as the country's administrative and financial center is evidenced by the numbers placed alongside many town names, indicating the distance from that town to London. To assist in locating these places, the map also has a well-marked grid of longitude and latitude.
On this map, longitude is measured east or west from London, using a north-south line or prime meridian running through the Greenwich observatory outside London. As can be seen throughout this exhibit, prior to the late 18th century, various prime meridians were used by different cartographers. By the end of the 19th century, however, the Greenwich meridian was accepted as the international standard