Rare Basic Borderlands Book

Large Folding Escandón Map of Colonies in Texas and Tamaulipas

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498. PRIETO, Alejandro. Historia, geografia y estadistica del estado de Tamaulipas por El C. Ingeniero Alejandro Prieto, obra adicionada de algunos articulos descriptivos y otros concernientes a las mejoras materiales proyectadas en aquel estado. Mexico: Tip. Escalerillas Num 13, 1873. [8], [1] 2-361 [1, blank] [p. 237 misnumbered 337; p. 356 misnumbered 956], [6, errata, index, plate list] pp., l0 lithograph plates by J. Rivera y Hijos after the work of Salazar (see below), 1 folded chart (Mapa de las fundaciones hechos en la colonia del Nuevo Santander Costas del seno Mexicano establecidas por D. Jose de Escandon...1748...1755....), 3 lithograph maps (see below). 8vo (23.9 x 16 cm), contemporary brown Mexican sheep over mottled boards, spine gilt with raised bands. Binding rubbed and some shelf wear, text with light uniform browning due to the paper on which it was printed, plates and maps very fine. Light pencil notes. Overall a very good copy of a basic Borderlands book. Rare in commerce.


Approximate overall sheet size of each plate: 14.5 x 22.7 cm., each with title at top above neat line: Tamaulipas and plate number; attribution below lower neat line at right: México. Lit J. Rivera, Hijo y Ca.

[1]  Antigüedades indigenas encontradas en las ruinas del sur de Tamaulipas. Seven antiquities, ranging from stone figures to utensils. After p. 20.

[2]  Ruinas indigenas en la Sierra de la Palma. Men with horses explore truncated pyramid in forest. After p. 36.

[3]  Vista de Sn. Francisco al lado de la laguna. (Lugar donde ecsistió una ciudad indignea.) Serene landscape of small town and lake. After p. 44.

[4]  Antigüedades indigenas de Sur de Tamaulipas. Antiquities including stone head, partial vase, implements, etc. After p. 52.

[5]  Santa Cruz, immediciones de Matamoros (Rio Bravo). Man standing by river, small boat passing by, and on opposite side a small village or rancho.    Before p. 217.

[6]  La caza del tigre.  Tiger hunt in a forest of ancient trees. After p. 270.

[7]  El rio Tamesi cerca de Villa Blanca. Serene river and forest scene and falls; three men with a canoe. After p. 292.

[8]  El Bernal de Orcacitas. Visto el lado del Este. The famous Mountain in Southern Tamaulipas surrounded by the fertile plains of the region. Before p. 297.

[9]  Llegada á las cumbres del Bernal. Dramatic scene showing several men, apparently surveyors, climbing the rugged, perilous heights of El Bernal. Two men have reached the summit, and one is planting a flag while the other peers through a telescope. After p. 300.

[10] Vista de Puerto de Tampico. (Tornada al lado del rio).
Idyllic view of Tampico, looking toward the city. After p. 314.

[11] Yglesia de Matamoros. Beautiful cathedral surrounded by fence. After p. 334.


Map, Town Plans & Chart

[1] Mapa de la Sierra Gorda, costa de el Seno Mexicano, desde la Ciudad de Querétaro, situada, cerca de los 21 gs hasta los 28-1/2 en que está, la Bahia de el Espiritu Santo, sus Rios, Ensenadas, y Provincias, que circumbalan la costa del Seno Mexicano, reconocida, Pacificada, y Poblada en la Mayor parte, por Don Joseph de Escandon..... Very large folded lithograph map with original pastel hand coloring of borders; 73.7 x 55.5 cm; overall sheet size: 78 x 61 cm. Northeastern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (roughly from Queretaro to Bahia, present-day Goliad, in Texas; and from Saltillo eastward to the Gulf of Mexico) from the time of settlement, with symbols locating presidios, towns, and missions. Unattributed, but after an original in Vol. 29 in the history section of the General and Public Archives of the Nation, with certification of December 25, 1873. A fine, large map, historical, but with a touch of whimsy, such as two fanciful Natives at the Texas-Mexico border. Between pp. 72 and 73.

[2] Plano de la ciudad de Tampico de Tamaulipas. Uncolored lithograph town plan; neat line to neat line 17.3 x 32.7 cm; overall sheet size: 22.7 x 37.5 cm. Extensive key at upper left including Protestant cemetery, Customs, Fort of Iturbide, various schools and hospitals, market, plazas, church, police, “Paso de animales,” etc. Also shown are Rio Pánuco, “Isleta del Moralillo,” “Las Matillas,” “Rancho de Ortiz,” “Laguna del Carpintero,” “El Humo,” etc. Very fine. Between pp. 318 and 319.

[3] Plano de la ciudad y puerto de Matamoros. Esplicacion... [below lower right neat line] Lit. de Salazar. Uncolored lithograph town plan; neat line to neat line: 22.7 x 24 cm; overall sheet size 27.6 x 25.4 cm. Key includes school, college, park, plazas, military quarters, Teatro de la Reforma, etc. The Rio Bravo de Norte flows north and east, locating various sites, such as the bathing areas reserved for horses, women, and men. Very fine. Between pp. 338 and 339.

[4]  [Chart]. Mapa de las fundaciones hechas en la Colonia del Nuevo Santander Costas del Seno Mexicano establecidas por D. José de Escandon.... After p. 152

     First edition of an early work on the state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. The book includes material on the colonization projects of José de Escandón (1700-1770), “the Father of the Lower Rio Grande,” who established settlements along the Rio Grande and began the colonization of South Texas from the Rio Grande to the San Antonio River. (Clotilde P. García, “Escandon, Jose de,” Handbook of Texas Online: Tamaulipas shares much history and culture with that of South Texas. In 1840, Tamaulipas became part of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 38: “Contains examples of Salazar’s work produced by Rivera”; 59 (citing the book in his bibliography); 65 (listing publisher Tipografía Escalerillas, Salazar, and Rivera). Palau 236961: “Litografíasde gran interés y texto indispensable para los principales acontecimientos históricos de Tejas como en los que atañe a la Colonia del Nuevo Santander; de las costumbres de las tribus tamaulipecas. Es muy apreciable in parte arqueológica; se ha dicho que ‘Tampico tiene el privilegio de haber sido el punto de entrada’ (Blas Rodríguez, Tampico. Datos para la historia de la Huasteca).” Sabin 65515.

     The first two-thirds of the work has nineteen chapters covering history (indigenous ruins, tribes, traditions, military colonies, Spanish colonization, and details on various cities and areas). The second section on geography and statistics sets forth natural history, climate, mining, politics and political divisions, districts, and sites of special interest. The large, handsome map of Sierra Gorda is based on a manuscript map dated 1792 which relates to the colonizing activities of José de Escandón in the 1740s and 1750s. For a reproduction of the original manuscript map, see Cartografía Histórica de Tamaulipas (published by Instituto Tamaulipeco de Cultura, 1990), p. 89. The map shows six settlements in present-day Texas. For more on Escandón and his colonizing activities on the last Spanish frontier in the eighteenth century, see also Casteñeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas III, chapter 4. The folded chart at p. 152 shows the twenty-three towns founded by Escandón. Chapter 10 (pp. 92-100) is on Texas (“Principales acontecimientos referidos en la historia de Tejas”).

     Special problems unique to the Borderlands are discussed, such as cattle rustling. Some suggestions include: deployment of federal troops along the border; monitoring the border from Matamoros to Piedras Negras; establishing severe penalties, such as hanging, for rustling; implementing systematic brandings and keeping better records thereof; requiring that herders carry papers documenting sales and ownership; etc.

     Alejandro Prieto (1841, Hacienda Chocoy, Tamaulipas-1921, Tampico) received a degree in topographical engineering at the age of nineteen and fought against the invading French forces in the sixties, at one point being condemned to death. After settling in Tampico he held several public offices, including city engineer, visitador público, and juez de registro civil. He was also a deputy to the Congreso General, secretary of the Mexican legation in Guatemala, governor of Tamaulipas, national senator in Tacubaya, and secretary of the government of Tamaulipas. Other positions included engineer of the railroad commission of Tehuantepec and professor of topography, geographical history, and statistics. He wrote engineering studies and historical works, including the present work. Due to his excellent surveying skills and expertise on the region, the geography and boundaries were refined under his direction, including the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. This work is a true classic, looking back at the region’s history, documenting the region as it was at the time of publication, and Prieto’s visionary plans for improving waterways and constructing railroads for travel and trade. The work has been used by historians from Bolton to Castañeda to Weber, but as yet there is no English translation. For more on Prieto, including portrait, see pp. 194-195 in Cartografía Histórica de Tamaulipas (published by Instituto Tamaulipeco de Cultura, 1990).


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