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A description of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), including history, commonly used terms and related links
Adopted by the United States Congress of Confederation on May 20, 1785, the Land Ordinance was established to provide a means by which the land west of the Appalachian Mountains, north of the Ohio River and East of the Mississippi River could be sold and settled. This article describes the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), a way of subdividing and describing all public domain lands in the United States. Regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the PLSS divides the lands owned by the Federal government into 6-miles square townships and is included in the National Atlas. Townships are divided into 36 one-miles sections that can be further divided into quarter sections, quarter-quarter sections, or even irregular government lots. Each township is identified with a township and range designation with township representing the location north or south of the base line and the range indicating the location east or west of one of 37 named Principal Meridians. The east-west line of each meridian is called the base line
U.S. Geological Survey website: https://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/a_plss.html#two
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"1785 - The Public Land Survey System (PLSS)" (2017). American Period Maps. 23.