Emperor Maximilian’s Vision of a Reorganized Mexico

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

622. [MAP]. MEXICO. FRENCH INTERVENTION. [OROZCO Y BERRA, Manuel (topographer & geographer)] & DECAEN Y CÍA (lithographers). Carta general del Imperio Mexicano formada y corregida con presencia de los últimos datos y el auxilio de las autoridades mas competentes. Formada y Corregida con presencia de los últimos datos y el Auxilio de las autoridades mas competentes. México, Impa. Litoga. de Decaen, Editor. Esquina del Callejon del Espiritu Santo y Coliseo Viejo. 1864. [3 inset maps below and left of title, each in cartouche resembling scroll]: [1] Puerto de Matamoros; [2] Golfo de Mexico; [3] Tamaulipas; [key with symbols to right of inset maps]: Explicacion de los Signos. [2 profiles at lower right]: [1] Perfil del camino de México á Veracruz; [2] Perfil del camino de México á Acapulco; [comparative illustrations of mountains with key at lower center]: Comparacion de las principales montañas del Imperio segun su altura; [comparative illustration of rivers, above mountains preceding]: Comparacion de las principales rios del Imperio; [inset map at lower left]: Croquis de los Caminos de Mexico á Vera-Cruz; [table above preceding inset map]: Estado comparativo de poblacion del’ Imperio...; [table of distances above preceding table]: Tabla de distancias. [lines demarking the Gadsden Purchase and the original Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo boundary]. Mexico: Decaen y Cía, 1864. Lithograph map with original pale green toning to seas (Mexico, Central America, most of Texas and Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico), 32 sections mounted on original linen backing; neat line to neat line: 80 x 119 cm; overall sheet size: 85 x 121.5 cm. Pristine copy.

     First edition. OCLC locates two copies of the present map: Newberry and University of Chicago. At least one copy is in Mexico, in the Orozco y Berra Collection (No. 1020). The map is illustrated in El Territorio Mexicano, Vol. I, p. 311 (folding plate). For a digital image of this map and a good discussion on its historical background see UNAM, “La División Territorial del Segundo Imperio Mexicano” Emperor Maximilian arrived in Mexico on May 28, 1864, and on July 27 of the same year he assigned to Manuel Orozco y Berra the task of developing a new territorial and political division of the Mexican Empire, due to his excellent cartographic work and deep knowledge of the geography and history of Mexico. Orozco y Berra was entrusted to take charge of the survey and redistricting and became a member of the French Commission Scientifique du Mexique. The UNAM essay above refers to Edmund O’Gorman’s comments on the importance of Orozco’s redistricting (in translated paraphrase, from Historia de las divisiones territoriales de México, México, Editorial Porrúa, 1966):

The history of the division of Mexico’s territory can be reduced to a long narrative of conflicts between various regions of the country to achieve greater territorial expansion at the expense of others and prejudice the public good. Maximilian and his government were the only regime that attempted territorial and political divisions based on science and good management, which are the cornerstones of any democratic system. Orozco y Berra’s work took into account such things as the natural configuration of the land, distribution of water, the nature of the population, and their fiscal and economic affinities or lack thereof.

     Dictionary of Mexican Literature, pp. 482-483:

Manuel Orozco y Berra (1816-1881), born on June 8, 1816, in Mexico City, was the son of an insurgent captain, Juan N. Orozco. He studied at the Lancasteriano de Octaviano Chausal School and later enrolled in the School of Mining in 1830 to obtain a degree in topography, which he received in 1834; that same year he moved to Puebla. He also studied law, receiving his degree in 1847. He served as counselor at the court of Tlaxcala. He returned to Mexico City as government counsel, and in September 1852, he was named archivist then director of the National Archives. In 1856 he received the following commissions: to edit the Carta General de la Republica, to create the Diccionario geográfico, and to write the Carta geográfica del Valle de México. In September of 1857, he was appointed secretary of public works. Orozco went on to hold various other governmental positions which included minister of the Supreme Court (1863); member of the Comisión Cientifíca de México; named by Maximilian as under secretary of the Ministry of Public Works (1864); state counselor (1865); and director of the National Museum (1866). In 1866 he advised Maximilian to leave Mexico and evade a bloody fight. His advice was not taken, however, and upon the death of Maximilian and the installation of a new government, Orozco y Berra was incarcerated and condemned to four years in prison. Because of poor health, he was allowed to return home in the same year. He never returned to political or public office. He dedicated himself to research and teaching, and also belonged to several academic and scientific societies... Orozco y Berra was one of the first to employ the anthropological sciences in historical investigation and was the first to use, in an integrated and organized manner, the bibliographical archive, giving his historical works fresh interpretations.


Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,450.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: