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Aaron Arrowsmith:  A New Map of Mexico and Adjacent Provinces Compiled from Original Documents. By A Arrowsmith. 1810.

Maps of California (California, Nevada, Arizona)

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Title: A New Map of Mexico and Adjacent Provinces Compiled from Original Documents. By A Arrowsmith. 1810.

Map Maker: Aaron Arrowsmith

Place / Date: London / 1810

Coloring: Hand Colored

Size: 64 x 52 inches

Condition: VG+

Price: $22,500.00

Inventory ID: 31281


Flawless example of the first edition of Arrowsmith's landmark map of Texas, Upper California and the Southwest, perhaps the single most important 19th Century mapping of the Southwestern part of North America prior to its independence.

Arrowsmith's map was the first to report the discoveries of Pike and Humboldt, having been issued prior to the official accounts of these two explorers. While the map draws from the work of Humboldt extensively (and Humboldt accused Arrowsmith of plagiarism), the map shows substantial improvements over the Humboldt map in several areas.

Arrowsmith drew on Vancouver's charts for his treatment of the California Coastline (including the tracks of Vancouver's voyage on the California Coast on a daily basis), Pike's accounts for the mapping of Texas and the Brazos and Guadalupe River regions and other rivers explored by Pike, and Humboldt's treatment of the Rocky Mountain regions and the Gulf Coast. Arrowsmith also shows Father Escalante's route in detail and is the first to confirm that  the "Nepestle River" first reached by the Juan de Archuleta Expedition between 1664 and 1680 was in fact the Arkansas River.

The map also provides an interesting snapshot of the Lower Missouri River, Kansas River and Arkansas River valleys, prior to the reports of Stephen Long and other American explorer's in the region. There are a number of annotations throughout the map providing further information on the exploration and mapping of the region. In describing the map, Martin & Marin note:

"Relying on information provided to him by the Hudson’s Bay Company, [Arrowsmith] added significant details in the Northwest, and his depiction of the California coast was probably taken from the British explorer Vancouver’s own charts. In the Texas area [Arrowsmith] undoubtedly used Pike’s rendition of the rivers .  .  . while he followed Humboldt in tracing the coast from the Spanish Hydrographic Office chart . . . . By combining the best parts of Humboldt’s and Pike’s maps and avoiding their errors, and by adding his own new information, Arrowsmith contributed a significantly improved depiction of the region”.

The present example is the first state of the map, showing the boundary of Mexico and the United States at the Mermento River in Louisiana, following the river, then running northwest to 32 degrees and more or less due westward. While Streeter referred to this edition as the second edition of the map, Rumsey identifies this edition as the first edition, with the Streeter's first state actually being the last edition, published circa 1820. The confusion lies in the fact that Streeter's first edition is also dated 1810 and shows Arrowsmith as "Hydrographer to his Majesty."  All other editions reference Arrowsmith as Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales, with the second, third and fourth editions including a change in the title noting that each is corrected to 1815, 1816 and 1817 respectively.  Streeter apparently assumed that this meant the "Hydrographer to the King State" was the first edition, but Rumsey correctly notes that Streeter's first edition is the only one to show the Adams Onis Treaty Boundary of 1819 and that it appears in the Atlas to Thompson's Alcedo, first published in 1825. There are also several changed in the "Hydrographer to his Majesty" state that clearly shows Rumsey to be correct. 

Arrowsmith's map of Mexico is regarded as perhaps the single most influential of all regional maps from this time period, a landmark in the Cartographic History of Texas and the Southwest, and a cornerstone map in American Cartographic History.

The present example is a truly exceptional copy of the map, with fine fresh color and was likely unopened and virtually untouched for nearly 200 years.

Condition Description: Dissected and laid on linen, with original chemise case.

References: Martin & Martin 25, Streeter 1046, Wheat 295.

Related Categories:
Maps of California (California, Nevada, Arizona)
Maps of Mexico
Maps of the American Plains (Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota)
Maps of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, New Mexico)
Maps of Southwest America (Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas)
Maps of Texas