spurious background, however, and its unfortunate errors, may well have contributed to
government and military leaders supporting interior surveys of the American West.
—From J. C.
Martin and Robert S.
Martin’s essay on the Disturnell Treaty Map in
Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900
(Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1999),
in United States history have had a role as interesting as that of the
Map—the map that was attached to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
at the end of the Mexican War in 1848. The signers of that treaty thought they were
making things simple by de
ning the line between the
United States and Mexico
according to the boundary shown on a currently popular
map published by John
But because there were errors on the map, it took eight years of discussions, surveys,
and the Gadsden Purchase to straighten out the major disputes that arose. Part of the
disputed territory—the Chamizal area at El Paso—was not determined
nally until 1963,
a hundred and
fteen years after the original treaty was signed....
The boundary line between New Mexico (and what is now Arizona) and Old Mexico
was to be based on mileages from El Paso. But the Disturnell
Map showed El Paso at a
latitude 34 miles north and a longitude 100 miles east of the true position of that city on
This became the core of the di
culties. It was as if you and I were travelling in the
Southwest and I said I would meet you 200 miles south, in the city of El Paso—but
when you had journeyed 200 miles south you found yourself still far north and east of
Now, you wonder, what did I mean? Were we to meet at this point 200 miles
south of our parting, or were we to meet in El Paso?
Thus, were the boundary surveyors supposed to set up a starting monument accord-
ing to the printed map or according to the true latitute and longitude of the points print-
ed on Disturnell’s Map?
culties spring from con
icting desires, and the problems that arose from two
erent interpretations of the Disturnell
Map were caused, as much as anything, by the
icting interests of the two powers concerned....
Map was based on a series of earlier maps issued by other cartogra-
phers.... In 1825 Tanner made a map of
Mexico [that] showed all of North America....
Heckrotte’s essay in
California 49: Forty-Nine
California from the
Sixteenth Century to the Present #21]. Between 1825 and 1847 Tanner brought out at least
10 editions of this map. One of the Tanner maps, that of 1826, was copied and published
in 1828 by the
Gallaher & White.... This is the map whose plates were
bought by Disturnell and used for printing the Disturnell
maps of 1846-1858.... A few
years later there was another plagiarism of the Tanner map, this time in France, Rosa’s
Mapa de los Estados Méjicanos...’
published in Paris in 1837. It was a literal copy of
Tanner’s 1834 edition, on the original scale and translated into Spanish. Rosa produced
another edition in 1851.
When the boundary disputes arose after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, all three
of these publishers’
were brought into the argument—the Tanner
Disturnell (or White, Gallaher & White) map, and the Rosa map.
—From Jack Rittenhouse’s
Disturnell’s Treaty Map: The Map That
Was Part of the
Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty on Southwestern Boundaries, 1848
(Santa Fe: Stagecoach Press,
n.d.), pp. 5-6, 13-14:
The Mother Map of the Treaty Map Sequence
1. [TREATY MAP]. [POCKET MAP]. TANNER,
A Map of the
United States of
Mexico, as Organized and De
ned by the Several Acts of the Congress of that
Republic. Constructed from a Great Variety of Printed and Manuscript Documents by H. S.
Below neatline at left:
Published by H. S. Tanner,
Below neatline at right:
Entered According to Act of Congress, the 10
June, 1825, by H. S. Tanner of the State of Pennsylvania.
Two insets at lower left: (1)
; and (2)
Map of the Roads
&c from Vera Cruz & Alvarado to Mexico.
. Pocket map, folded into original 16mo red roan covers,
stamped in gold and gilt-lettered on front cover:
(covers present but de-
tached). Engraved map with original outline coloring. 57.3 x 71.1 cm (22
x 28 inches).
Pocket covers separated at spine, darkening and wear along edges. Browning and a few
splits and small voids (no major losses) along old folds. Backed with Japanese tissue.
Thomas W. Streeter’s copy, with his pencil notes inside pocket folder (“Cadmus—E.E.
1939...”). Contemporary ink initials WEM(?) (needs research) inside front pocket cover,
manuscript notes in same hand on map: “See U.S. Review,
No. 13, a full Topographical
Sketch of the Province of Texas”; “See...Review N
84 pa. 340 a description of the Port
of Guaymas a good sea port but Wretched Country”; “Lieut.
Hardy entered the Mouth
of the Rio Colorado at the bottom of the Gulf of California—the Indians were naked,
& wretched—the Gulf of California is [strong?]
& full of Sea
Monsters & [desolation?]...Review N
84 pa. 346-349.”
First imprint in the Treaty Map sequence;
second issue of Tanner’s map (the
rst issue of Tanner’s map appeared in 1825); Lawrence Martin’s sequence (b). For three
decades following its
rst publication in 1826, Tanner’s map served as a source map of
geographical knowledge for Mexico, emerging territories in the Transmississippi
and Texas (Austin’s celebrated 1830 map of Texas was published by Tanner). Tanner based
the present map on the cartographical work of Alexander von Humboldt,
Pedro Walker, Zebulon M. Pike,
William Darby, Bernardo de Orta, J. F. de Lángara y
Huarte, and other sources. Tanner’s map was often copied, both in the U.S. and abroad.
In the present 1826 issue, Tanner fatefully altered the southern boundary of New Mexico
west of the Rio Grande.
Gallaher & White subsequently reproduced Tanner’s
boundary in 1828, Rosa followed suit in 1837, and Disturnell in 1846 followed Tanner’s
1826 boundary in over twenty variants of his celebrated Treaty Map.
Tanner’s map, with its simple straight line colored in pink and green, extending from
El Paso westward, is one of the most important and interesting maps for showing how
maps and mapmakers can in
uence history in a resounding way. This is the mother map
that led to the subsequent controversy, which was only defused with the
Purchase (1853-1854), by which the United States obtained the disputed territory needed
for the southern railroad and the Santa Rita mines. Furthermore, Tanner’s 1826 map and
its use as a source for Disturnell’s Treaty Map led to the problems that
nally proved to
the public and the United States government the value of accurate maps and e
Martin & Martin,
Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900,
Plate 37n. Rittenhouse,
Disturnell’s Treaty Map
, pp. 13-14. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, pp. 276-77n. Streeter Sale 3824
Mapping the Transmississippi
II, pp. 89-90 (commenting on
Tanner’s original 1825 map on which the present 1826 version was based): “This was
apparently a popular map, for
ve editions appeared (with no less than ten separate
issues) between 1825 and 1847.... In 1826 [present map] Tanner altered [the southern]