Rare Borderlands Report on Military Colonies
“en la Frontera del Norte”

With One of the Rarest Maps relating to the Borderlands

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45. [BORDERLANDS]. MEXICO. MINISTERIO DE GUERRA Y MARINA. Reglamento para el establecimiento de las colonias militares en la frontera del norte. México.—Diciembre de 1868. Mexico: Imprenta del Gobierno, en Palacio, á cargo de José M. Sandoval, 1869. [12], [3] 4-118, [26, some folded] pp., folded lithograph map, folded lithograph plan, 2 folded letterpress tables (included in pagination), 3 plates on maize grounds of military types (see map, plan, and plates below). 8vo (22.5 x 15.5 cm), contemporary red Mexican sheep over red pebbled boards, gilt-ruled spine, upper cover gilt-stamped “C. Comte. de Escuadron Fidencio Caballero,” orange and black marbled endpapers. Spine cracked and chipped at foot, both covers stained (more noticeable on lower board), corners bumped. Title page and one other leaf with small tear at bottom margin, pp. 53/54 with small hole affecting two letters, map and folding plan with tear at text block (no losses), the lithos have a few inconsequential fox marks and light waterstaining in blank margins. Overall, interior is fine except for a few closed tears to a few pages or folding material (no losses.). Fidencio Caballero was secretary of the Commission that created this report, and one of its authors. Text with one ink correction (p. 7), probably by Caballero. Very rare among institutional holdings and none at auction.


Carta general de una parte de República Mexicana, formada para el reglamento de la ley de 27 de Abril del año de 1868 por el Ingeniero Agustin Díaz [upper right above neat line] Documento No. 1 [key at lower left] Signos adoptados (partially color-coded for towns, U.S. forts in blue, proposed Mexican military colonies in red, haciendas, ranches, “rancherias de indios,” minerals, waterholes, etc.). Neat line to neat line: 47.5 x 76.2 cm; overall sheet size: 58 x 84.6 cm. Border shaded in blue wash, state borders shown in red. Very fine. Only located copy in the Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico.  The map shows the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands from the mouth of the Rio Grande in Texas to San Diego in California, including La Paz in Baja California.


Proyecto de Trazos Nomenclatura y disposición del caserío de las Colonias militares del norte. Formada para el reglamento de la ley de 27 de Abril del de 1868, por el Ingeniero Agustin Díaz, consisting of 5 elements [far left model town plan; center model plan of fort interior and two exterior elevations below; right detail showing town center; lower right explanation of abbreviations; [upper right] Documento No. 2. Overall sheet size: 48 x 73.7 cm. Small closed tear at upper right (no loss), else fine.

Lithographs on Maize Grounds

[1]  Untitled image of uniformed cavalry man with sword and other accoutrements on a prancing white horse. Overall sheet size: 21.6 x 14.7 cm.

[2]  Untitled image of infantryman holding rifle in his right hand and wearing a simple uniform. Overall sheet size: 21.6 x 14.7 cm.

[3]  Untitled image of sapper with a pistol and with a pick in his right hand and wearing a simple cotton uniform. Overall sheet size: 21.6 x 14.7 cm.

     First edition. Not in Eberstadt, Streeter Sale, Palau, Sabin, Porrúa, Howes, etc.

     This report relates to Mexico’s establishment of military colonies in the Borderlands to deal with the then general state of lawlessness existing along the border between Mexico and Texas-New Mexico-Arizona-California. The other purpose of the establishment of these colonies was for the final subjugation of the Native tribes who had managed to maintain their strongholds through several centuries of Spanish and Mexican rule.New treaties with the tribes are suggested, and prior treaties are reviewed. There is a wealth of military detail in this rare and excellent report, including such facts as side-arms will be six-shot Colt revolvers.

     The report reflects yet another effort by first Spain and then Mexico to gain control of the wild Borderlands where neither peace nor justice could be found. The regulations and provisions are amazingly detailed and offer great insight into the Mexican military and civilian establishments. All levels of the army and navy are covered, as are regulations for the colonies, such as the establishment of schools and agricultural practices.

     Despite the ambitious efforts detailed here, it is not certain what real effect they had on taming the frontier. Peace was gradually brought to the area in the Borderlands, (though it seems distant at the present time), by increased law enforcement north of the border that suppressed outlaws and the numerous defeats inflicted on Native Americans during the Indian Wars. The effort reflected here was probably made possible by the defeat of Maximilian two years earlier, which released energies and people devoted to or opposed to his reign and the ensuing warfare. Despite the emperor’s departure, Mexican society and politics remained in turmoil, which retarded Borderland security.

The large folding map, one of the rarest maps relating to the Borderlands, is exceptionally detailed, finely done, and historically important. Probably not printed in a large edition, like so many such official documents, few have survived.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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