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The First Mexican Map to Show the New Texas Border
By the Chief Mexican Commissioner of the International Boundary Survey


[MAP]. GARCÍA CONDE, Pedro. Carta geografica general de la Republica Mexicana, formada el ano de 1845 con los datos que reunio la seccion de geografia del Ministerio de la Guerra por el General de Brigada, Pedro Garcia Conde, Ministro de la Guerra y Marina, deputado, director del Colegio Militar, individuo de la Academia Nacional de San Carlos, vocal de la Junta General de Instruccion Publica, agrimensor y ensayador titulado y miembro de otras varias sociedades cientificas de la Republica. Nota esta edicion se hace provicionalmente mientras se concluye la carta en escala mayor. [facsimile signature] Pedro Garcia Conde. [Inset at lower left] Explicacion de los signos. [lower left] Engraved by B. R. Davies, 16 George Str. Easton Squ. London. From the Original Survey Made by Order of the Mexican Government; [lower center] Published by Edward Stanfrod [sic], 12, 13 & 14, Long Acre, London. W.C. [pasted on slip at lower right] Edward Stanford, 12, 13 & 14, Long Acre, London. W.C. Geographer to the King. London Agent by Appointment for the Sale Ordnance Survey Maps. Agent for the Admiralty Charts, the Indian Government Maps &c. [London, 1848?]. Engraved map with original hand-coloring. Neat line to neat line: 89 x 124.5 cm; overall sheet size: 96.5 x 131.5 cm. Sectioned and mounted on contemporary linen with contemporary marbled end panels, the upper with typed modern label. Lightly browned, a few minor stains, minor linen fold splits not affecting image. Preserved in a half leather over cloth folded case with a printed paper label. Copies located at Bancroft, Yale University, New York Public Library, Library of Congress, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, and a private collection.

First edition (another edition was published by James Wyld, apparently from the same plates but with an added border; copy in the Boston Public Library). American War College Library, p. 108. Jackson, Shooting the Sun 87. El Territorio Mexicano, Vol. I, p. 224. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 462 & II, p. 192.

The publication circumstances of this map are problematic. García Conde at the time was confined to Mexico on Santa-Anna’s orders and thus could not have been in London to participate in the map’s preparation. The map’s existence does, however, also point to the existence of a now-lost Ur map based on García Conde’s partly completed large-scale map, now also lost. In late 1846, the government was complaining that the large, general map was still not published when it reawakened the dormant Military Statistics Commission (See [Map] Salas herein). Because it shows the Texas border at the Rio Grande, it would seem to post-date the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, since no pre-war Mexican map would show that configuration. As Jackson remarks: “Another curiosity is that the Rio Grande is marked as the boundary between Texas and the Mexican states lying below.... One suspects that engraver Davies made these changes to the source map, some coming after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.” The northern border of Coahuila is also truncated at the river instead of extending into west Texas as is normally shown on Mexican maps, although the lettering still extends into Texas. On the map, the new international border is not marked and there is no hint of the Treaty of La Mesilla, but the murky western boundary is the Pecos River with an extension to the west well north of El Paso del Norte (correctly positioned and marked as “Norte”). Finally, Davies, according to Tooley, moved from this address in 1848. In any case, it does not seem to have been published before 1848. Done on Davies’ own initiative and assuredly without García Conde’s consent, the moved border resulted in the first Mexican map to show the Texas border at the Rio Grande. In any case, it is a significant map generally showing pre-war Mexico and a large improvement over any map of the country that had previously appeared.

Raymond B. Craib notes of the fate of the large manuscript version:

Under these less than auspicious circumstances the SMGE’s new national map, hastily finished in the aftermath of the War and during the initial phases of the boundary demarcation, appeared in 1850.... It included a visual elaboration of the territory lost in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, as well as a demarcation of the new international limits between Mexico and the United States [According to Garcia Cubas in his El Libro de mis recuerdos (p. 452)], the image brought an expression of bitterness from General Santa Anna, who for the first time could actually envision the magnitude of the territory Mexico had lost. The map never saw publication because of the government’s precarious financial condition after the war. Members of the Commission and [SMGE] sought publishers in the United States and England, but found the prices for publication no more accommodating than Mexico....

The need for a published and circulated Mexican-produced national map became even more pronounced when in 1854, Mexico lost another portion of its territorial claim as a result of [the Disturnell] map.... Regardless of the role General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and others played in the politics of the [Gadsden] Purchase, Mexican officials and intellectuals were convinced: Mexico needed an accurate and internationally accepted map of its own, published and circulated (Cartographic Mexico: A History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes, Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 26-27).

Wheat is somewhat dismissive of the map, at least so far as it shows the present-day U.S.: “In 1845 the Mexican Minister of War, General Pedro Garcia Conde, had B.R. Davies of London engrave for the Mexican Government a monumental map of the country, which for present purposes covers in considerable detail the New Mexico, Great Basin, and California regions.... Texas appears as a part of Mexico, but the detail in New Mexico is only fair. Albuquerque, Santa Fe and El Paso are marked with double circles (indicating larger towns), but the engraver apparently forgot to include their names.... Conde may have been a good general...but his map was behind the times, even for Mexico. Its chief attraction in the areas now a part of the United States is the fact that it was beautifully engraved.”

Jackson remarks of the map as it regards Texas: "An interesting map that shows Mexico prior to the outbreak of the Mexican War. Texas is given with close resemblance to Austin's map, especially its coastline and rivers. García Conde, however, added considerable information—much of it very current. He relied on Josiah Gregg’s map from Commerce of the Prairies (1844) for the north Texas region, including Henry Connelley’s 1829 and 1840 Chihuahua routes, both of which are shown. New settlements in the Texas interior were taken from William H. Emory’s Map of Texas and the Country Adjacent (1844). García Conde...gave the Rio Grande without any hint of its Big Bend, a major error considering all the source maps at his disposal.

If the present area of the U.S. is not shown in great detail, the same cannot be said of Mexico itself. The map is dense with towns and settlements, roads, waterways, and other physical features. It represents a large advance over any previous map despite the fact that it is based largely on questionnaires rather than any real surveying of the country.

An important publication that first shows the results of García Conde’s efforts to more accurately map his country, with the ironic inclusion of the new Texas.

From The Handbook of Texas Online (García Conde, Pedro):

GARCÍA CONDE, PEDRO (1806–1851). Pedro García Conde, general in the Mexican army, member of Congress, and commissioner of the Mexican boundary survey commission, was born to Alejo García Conde and María Teresa Vidal en Lorca on February 8, 1806, in Arizpe, Sonora, and was baptized Pedro José. His siblings included at least two brothers. His father was head of the western Provincias Internas in 1817; in 1821 he supported independence under the Plan of Iguala and Agustín de Iturbide and became a general of division in 1822. He died July 28, 1826, in Mexico City. Pedro began a military career as a cadet at San Carlos presidio in Cerro Gordo, Durango, in 1817 and was promoted to alférez in 1818 by his father. While stationed at San Buenaventura presidio in Chihuahua in 1821, he supported Mexican independence, then transferred to San Elizario, and was promoted to lieutenant of cavalry. He interrupted his career in 1822 to study at the Colegio de Minería in Mexico City, returning to the service in 1825 as a member of the Estado Mayor. In 1828 he joined the newly organized Corps of Engineers and was promoted to captain. He was responsible for carrying out military reconnaissances on the Gulf Coast between Tuxpan and Tampico, in the interior between Villa de Valles and Zacualtipán, and the topographical survey of Mexico City. He also served on the faculty of the Military Academy as its mathematics instructor until 1831. For the next two years he was involved in engineering projects and a reconnaissance of the "Southern Coast." During 1833 he began work on a projected road between San Luis Potosí and Tampico that included improvements in navigation on the Pánuco River at Tampico. He was chosen to complete a map of the state of Chihuahua begun by Estevan M.L. Stapples and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1834. García Conde returned to Chihuahua in 1835 as inspector of the Milicias Civicas Urbanas y Rurales and led several campaigns against the Comanches, but was not involved in Antonio López de Santa Anna's movement into Texas. In 1836 he returned to Mexico City to head the reorganized Military Academy and was promoted to colonel in 1837, retroactive to 1835. He was promoted to general by President Anastasio Bustamante in 1840, a rank which became permanent in 1841. He took a leave of absence from the Military Academy in 1843 to serve in the Congress and became embroiled in the political fights of the day.

Between December 1844 and August 1845 he served as President José Joaquín Herrera's secretary of war and marine and during that time opposed Santa Anna's efforts to return to power. When Herrera was ousted by Mariano Paredes Arrillaga in December 1845, García Conde was removed from the legislature and was denied his request to return to the Military Academy. As war with the United States approached he declined serving on a "congress of war" in the spring of 1846. When Santa Anna returned to Mexico in August of 1846, García Conde tried to invoke a leave of absence, granted previously for travel to Europe for health reasons, but was prevented by Santa Anna. Instead he was ordered to Irapuato, Guanajuato, and then to Chihuahua City to prepare defenses against an expected attack from Parras, Coahuila, by Gen. John E. Wool, a job he did not desire to fulfill. When threatened with arrest and a forced transfer to Chihuahua he grudgingly complied. He arrived in Chihuahua early in January, joining Angel Trías and Gen. José Heredia in preparing for Col. Alexander Doniphan's attack from El Paso. García Conde participated in the battle of Sacramento on February 28, 1847, and following that defeat retreated to Parral and subsequently Durango. He returned to Mexico City as a member of the Senate and was appointed Mexican boundary commissioner in December 1848, a position he held until his death.

García Conde's significant achievements include the map of Chihuahua he completed in 1834; his leadership of the Military Academy where he was credited with introducing notable improvements; his statistical publication on Chihuahua, Ensayo estadistico sobre el estado de Chihuahua, published in 1842; and his tenure on the boundary survey. As boundary commissioner he led a group of engineers, under very difficult circumstances, in successful surveys of the California boundary; the southern boundary of New Mexico as compromised in his agreement with United States commissioner John R. Bartlett; a section of the Gila River; and the beginnings of work on the Rio Grande. He married María Loreto Regina Rosalea Josefa García Conde, daughter of Lt. Col. Diego García Conde and María Luisa Rodríguez Monterde, in the fall of 1826. They had at least one child, Agustín García Conde, who followed in his father's footsteps in the Corps of Engineers and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. García Conde received a diploma and the Cross of Honor in August 1840 for defending the administration of President Bustamante against a coup. He also received a diploma and cross in 1843. He died December 19, 1851, in Arizpe, Sonora, from health complications that developed during his tenure on the frontier.

For a discussion of the most significant aspect of García Conde’s career and his legacy, see Paula Rebert, La Gran Línea: Mapping the United States-Mexico Boundary, 1849-1857 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001).


Sold. Hammer: $30,000.00; Price Realized: $36,750.00.

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