Dorothy Sloan -- Books


Uncommon English Map of Mexico City

298.     [MAP]. GARCÍA CONDE, Diego. Plan General de la Ciudad de México, Levantado por el Teniente Coronel Don Diego García Conde, en al Año de 1793. Y Gravado en Miniatura en Londres por Edouard Mogg, el Año 1811. [upper right, text setting out the eight city wards and other features, plus untitled index key]. [London, 1811]. Copper-engraved map with contemporary hand coloring (pink, green, yellow, pale olive green), sectioned into 15 parts and mounted on old cartographical linen. Neat line to neat line: 51 x 58.8 cm; overall sheet size: 53.7 x 60.5 cm. Scale: 4-1/4 inches = approximately 1000 Spanish varas. Small, light circular stain at upper right (on text setting out wards), left side slightly darkened, a few minor voids, two ownership stamps (letter “G” within circle) below title.

     First English edition, in smaller format, following the Mexico City, 1807, printing of the mammoth original, the plates for which were destroyed or lost. (For a description of the first edition, see Sloan Auction 14, Item 34). Another smaller version, in pocket map format, was published in New York in 1830. Carrera Stampa, Planos de la Ciudad de Mexico 247. Orozco y Berra, Materiales para una cartografía mexicana, p. 262. Orozco y Berra, Memoria para el Plano, p. 11 (#29). Palau 98696 (incorrectly ascribing the map to Pedro García Conde). Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, for García Conde (Vol. II, p. 135) and Mogg (Vol. III, p. 265). All editions of this map are difficult to acquire, with no copies at auction for the past thirty years. British Library Catalogue records the original 1807 Mexico edition, but not this English edition.

     Despite being merely a shadow of its giant predecessor, this finely engraved map captures much of the detail of the map on which it was based. All of the streets are named, prominent buildings and features are shown (e.g. La Alameda, La Catedral), and the eight city wards are all delineated. The key lists the locations by ward of various features such as plazas, hospitals, convents, churches, government offices, and pulquerías. To the southwest, just past the cigar factory, “La Garita de Belén” is shown. This would be a crucial spot three decades later, when it fell to U.S. troops during the Mexican-American War, leading to the capture of Mexico City itself.

     The original survey for this map of Mexico City took place in 1793, during the viceregal administration (1789-1794) of the energetic and efficient Conde de Revillagigedo. Roberto L. Mayer commented on the original map: “This is probably the most important plan that had been drawn up of Mexico City in the nineteenth century…. This plan became the source to many others because it was copied and updated by several authors and editors” (Poblaciones Mexicanos: Planos y panoramos siglos XVI al XIX, pp. 76-77). Mapmaker Diego García Conde (1760-1822), a native of Barcelona, came to Mexico, served as captain of the Spanish Dragoons in Mexico, and fought the insurgents during the War of Independence. He supervised several complex construction projects, including the road from Veracruz to Jalapa. In 1822, he was named director general of the Corps of Engineers and founded the Academy of Cadets. His large map of Mexico City assured him cartographic fame both in his own country and abroad. London cartographer Edward Mogg specialized in road maps and guides for England and Wales. His production of this map reflects the growing British interest in Mexico once the War of Independence commenced.