“In effect, García Cubas scientifically naturalized the Mexican nation-state through the visual medium of the map”

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10. [ATLAS]. GARCÍA Y CUBAS, Antonio. Atlas geográfico y estadístico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos por Antonio García Cubas. Mexico: Publicado por Debray Sucesores, Portal del Coliseo Viejo núm 6., 1886. [2], title printed in black and red, 30 lithograph maps with original full hand coloring, by the successors of Debray (Montauriol). Folio (56 x 37.5 cm), publisher’s original binding, quarter brown sheep with gilt-lettered spine, dark green cloth, upper cover lettered in gilt “Atlas Mexicano Geográfico por A. Garcia Cubas.” Spine rubbed, and slightly torn, corners bumped, front flyleaf repaired, maps exceptionally fine. Circular ink stamp on title and first map. Very scarce.


All maps with full original color. Overall sheet size of each map: 54.5 x 70 cm. Each with key to state capitals, cities, towns, haciendas, ranches, mines, roads, railroads (including those under construction), etc.

1.   Sonora. Neat line to neat line: 54 x 38 cm. Carta I. Insets: Puerto Libertad;Guaymas. Clearly marked and labelled is the boundary line in orange and with plus signs based on the Gadsden Purchase (Treaty of Mesilla). The map includes parts of Alta California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the upper half of the Sea of Cortez. Key at lower left.

2.   Chihuahua. Neat line to neat line: 56 x 36.2 cm. Carta II. The Big Bend of Texas is included in the map.

3.   Coahuila. Neat line to neat line: 36.6 x 29.2 cm. Carta III.

4.   Nuevo Leon. Neat line to neat line: 40.6 x 20 cm. Carta IV.

5.   Tamaulipas. Neat line to neat line: 43.5 x 32 cm. Carta V.

6.   Veracruz. Neat line to neat line: 51.2 x 41.1 cm. Carta VI. Insets: Papanta-Misantla-Minatitlan and Veracruz.

7.   Tabasco. Neat line to neat line: 26 x 46 cm. Carta VII. Inset of Frontera.

8.   Campeche. Neat line to neat line: 36.9 x 38 cm. Carta VIII. Inset of Puerto de Campeche.

9.   Yucatan. Neat line to neat line: 44.5 x 39.8 cm. Carta IX.

10.   Sinaloa. Neat line to neat line: 42.2 x 36.5 cm. Carta X.

11.   Jalisco. Neat line to neat line: 37.3 x 45 cm. Carta XI. Insets of Impala, San Blas, Tomatlan y Chamela.

12.   Colima. Neat line to neat line: 32 x 38.5 cm. Carta XII. Insets: Manzanillo and Isla de Revillagagedo.

13.   Michoacan. Neat line to neat line: 33.5 x 47.5 cm. Carta XIII.

14.   Guerrero. Neat line to neat line: 36.5 x 48.8 cm. Carta XIV. Inset: Puerto de Acapulco.

15.   Oaxaca. Neat line to neat line: 37 x 52.5 cm. Carta XV. Insets: Puerto de Huatalco and Bahia de Salina Cruz.

16.   Chiapas. Neat line to neat line: 36.5 x 42 cm. Carta XVI.

17.   Durango. Neat line to neat line: 36.2 x 45 cm. Carta XVII.

18.   Zacatecas. Neat line to neat line: 42 x 48 cm. Carta XVIII.  

19.   Aguascalientes. Neat line to neat line: 36.5 x 43 cm. Carta XIX.

20.   San Luis Potosi. Neat line to neat line: 32.6 x 40.5 cm. Carta XX.

21.   Guanajauto. Neat line to neat line: 37.2 x 47 cm. Carta XXI.

22.   Queretaro. Neat line to neat line: 50 x 35.3 cm. Carta XII.

23.   Hidalgo. Neat to neat line: 35 x 41 cm. Carta XXIII.

24.   Mexico. Neat to neat line: 47.3 x 39.9 cm. Carta XXIV.

25.   Morelos. Neat line to neat line: 37.7 x 35.4 cm. Carta XXV.

26.   Puebla. Neat line to neat line: 43.5 x 37 cm. Carta XXVI.

27.   Tlaxcala.   Neat line to neat line: 36.6 x 50 cm. Carta XXVII.

28.   Baja California. Neat line to neat line: 44.6 x 35.2 cm. Carta XXVIII.Instes: I. de Guadalupe, Puerto de la Paz, and Bahia de la Magdalena.

29.   Distrito Federal. Neat line to neat line: 26.3 x 21 cm. Carta XXVIII [sic]. Surrounded by nine other maps related to Mexico through time.

30.   Territorio de Tepic. Neat line to neat line: 47.4 x 35.7 cm. Carta XXX.

     First edition of another of García y Cubas’ constantly evolving atlases.Phillips, Atlases 2687. Rumsey 5758. The genesis of this atlas is that published with a similar title by the same author in 1858 (see preceding entry), and as such it is a worthy successor to that great atlas, updating the maps to reflect the changes that had occurred in Mexico in the past thirty years, such as state boundaries, railroads, telegraph lines, etc. The maps were totally redrawn and lithographed for this edition published by Debray. It is no exaggeration to say that García y Cubas’ cartographic science visually cemented the nation-state of Mexico in the nineteenth century.

     Raymond B. Craib, in “A Nationalist Metaphysics: State Fixations, National Maps, and the Geo-Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Mexico” in Hispanic American Historical Review” 82.1 (2002), pp. 33-68:

Shortly after the Mexican-American War, Antonio García Cubas (1832-1912) made a name for himself as one of Mexico’s leading geographers and cartographers. He began his career in the offices of the Secretaría de Colonización y Industria, simultaneously studying engineering at the Colegio de Minería...graduating in 1865. In the meantime, he worked diligently on various cartographic and geographic projects, spending his free afternoons and evenings in the library of the SMGE and in the private collections of a number of the Sociedad’s members.

The corridors of the Sociedad and the pages of its bulletin exposed García Cubas to a generation of intellectuals-both conservative and liberal—who increasingly viewed practices such as ethnography, linguistics, statistics, economics, history, and geography as integral and scientific components to nation-state formation. Befriended by a number of the scientists and intellectuals who coalesced around that institution, such as the geographer Manuel Orozco y Berra and historian José Fernando Ramírez, García Cubas flourished and was inducted in 1856, at the precocious age of 24, as an honorary member of the Sociedad. Before the end of the decade, García Cubas would be widely considered one of Mexico’s premier cartographers and geographers, on a par with his elderly mentor Orozco y Berra. In the coming years, his pictorial-descriptive maps and atlases would constitute the most important and well-known images of the Mexican nation-state produced prior to the publication of the maps of the Comisión Geográfico-Exploradora in the last decade of the nineteenth century. They hung in the halls of power in Mexico City and on the walls of classrooms; they graced the pages of national histories, such as the multivolume México a través de los siglos (1887-89), and were exported to foreign countries where they were highly regarded as authoritative sources for publishers of guidebooks. In addition to producing national maps and atlases, he wrote numerous “booster” works, designed to promote Mexico abroad as a place for both physical and economic colonization, and a series of geography texts for Mexican schools.

The work that catapulted García Cubas to fame within government circles and the Sociedad, and which led to his early admission into that institution, was his carta general of 1857. In July 1856, García Cubas showed a number of the members in the Sociedad a national map he had produced based upon his consultation of various maps and atlases. The members of the Sociedad were evidently extremely impressed and García Cubas published the carta general the following year to wide acclaim.

This carta general became the most well-known national map of Mexico well into the next decade and served as the basis for Orozco y Berra’s own cartographic reorganization of the political landscape under the French in 1865. García Cubas also included it in his 1858 Atlas geográfico, estadístico e histórico de la República Mexicana, a work designed to aid the grand projects of an ascendant liberal regime: colonization, capitalist development, and the disentailment of church and Indian lands.

While designed to aid in a variety of grand projects, García Cubas’s map was something of a grand project itself. García Cubas’s an exemplary representation of a new nationalist sensibility arising from the Mexican-American War. Here, for the first time, a carta general purported to offer not only a vision of Mexico’s geography—of its territorial extent—but also of “its” history. On the surface of the map, history and geography came together to compose Mexico as a coherent historical and geographical entity; that is, as a legitimate nation-state.... García Cubas’s success came from his compilation of the “best existent maps” into a coordinated, coherent whole.... He positioned Mexico for the first time in relation to the Greenwich meridian rather than the easternmost point on the cathedral in the central plaza of Mexico City, the traditional meridian for Mexican maps. He thus brought Mexico into cartographic consonance with what were then construed to be the icons of advanced civilization, giving it a “modern” spatial sensibility. In effect, García Cubas scientifically naturalized the Mexican nation-state through the visual medium of the map.


Sold. Hammer: $3,600.00; Price Realized: $4,410.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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