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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),

pp. 137-39.


ew maps

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

the earth.

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

El Paso.

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....

The Disturnell

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

Maps of

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


rm of


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

map, the

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


H[enry] S[chenck].

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.

Tanner 1826.

Below neatline at left:

Published by H. S. Tanner,



177 Chesnut





Below neatline at right:

Entered According to Act of Congress, the 10


day of

June, 1825, by H. S. Tanner of the State of Pennsylvania.

Two insets at lower left: (1)


of Distances

; and (2)

Map of the Roads

&c from Vera Cruz & Alvarado to Mexico.

Inset at

right margin:

Statistical Table

. 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?]

& dangerous

& full of Sea

Monsters & [desolation?]...Review N


84 pa. 346-349.”

First imprint in the Treaty Map sequence;


rst edition,

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,

Don Juan

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

(this copy).


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]