Mathew Carey. “Mexico or New Spain.”
Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814. 17 5/8 x 15 5/8. Engraving. Original outline color. A few light stains. Else, very good condition.
An intriguing American map of Mexico. Published by Mathew Carey in 1818, shortly after the War of 1812, this map is from Carey’s Atlas which represented the best American cartographic work of the period. Carey, an Irish immigrant, established the first American specialized cartographic publishing firm. He set up an elaborate cottage system of craftsmen for engraving, printing, and coloring his maps utilizing the best independent artists directed to a common end. Carey is important, then, not only for the excellent maps he produced, but for his setting the pattern for American map publishing, to be followed by the likes of John Melish and Henry S. Tanner.
Mexico, or “New Spain” as such included not only present-day Mexico, but El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, all subject to the Spanish Crown. The northern boundary as shown here extended well north of Santa Fe, while the eastern border is located at the Sabine River–a boundary which was to moved west by the treaty accords following the 1819 War between Spain and the United States. France served as the model for colonial revolution in the Spanish Empire, and the Carey map shows Mexico virtually at the end of the colonial era. By 1820 the provincial government under Augustin de Iturbide had revolted against the new liberal monarchy for fear of modernization. This was the beginning of a 60-year period defined by one internal rival struggling against the other that would end only with the second election of Porfirio Diaz in 1884. The southern end of the nation similarly reacted in their own, local interests forming the Central American nations of modern times.