John Mitchell (April 13, 1711 – February 29, 1768) was and British-American mapmaker of great significance. He is known for one and only one map, the 'Mitchell Map', considered the most important map in 18th century American history. Mitchell was born in Lancaster County, Virginia, the son of a prosperous planter and merchant. Like many of his social peers, he was educated in Europe, at Scotland at Edinburgh University, where he studied medicine. Mitchell practiced medicine in Virginia for a short time prior to the French and Indian War. He was elected to the original American Philosophical Society in 1744. In 1745 Mitchell argued that a series of epidemics occurring in Virginia were due to unsanitary troop ships from Britain - at the time a revolutionary idea. He relocated to London in 1746 - presumably for the agreeable climate. Mitchell never practiced medicine in London, but was known to be an avid botanist, and was considered an exotic plant expert in London society circles. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in November 1748, his candidature citation describing him as

A Gentleman of great merit and Learning, who Some time Since communicated to the Royal Society a very curious dissertation concerning the Colour of the skin in Negroes, and who from his long residence in Virginea, and from his great application to the Study of Natural history, especially Botany, is very well acquainted with the vegetable productions of North America, being desirous of being admitted a fellow of the Royal Society, is recommended by us from our personal knowledge of him as highly deserving the Honour he desires, as we believe he will be (if chosen) a usefull and valuable member of our Body.
As an educated American adopted into British high society, Mitchell became the de facto expert on all matters North American. In 1749, during a time of ever-increasing political tensions between British and French interests in America, Lord Halifax contracted Mitchell to produce a large and detailed map of British and French dominions in America. While embracing the most advanced geographical data, Mitchell also advocated pro-British interpretation of political boundaries. The resulting map was thus geographically unimpeachable and reframed the cartographic perspective from French to British terms. The map proved significant and was used in most subsequent treaties. Michell issued 3 editions in his lifetime. He died in London in 1768.

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