This fascinating and highly-detailed map outlines the territorial claims of no less than five different state and monarchical powers, including the Republic of Texas. The map shows an area stretching from the East Coast (with insets of Newfoundland and south Florida in order to fit the publication format) as far west as the 102 meridian west. Today this meridian passes through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, but in 1843, when this map was published, much of this area was the western frontier, and the map delineates broad swathes of Indian territory, including the Osages.
Above all, what we find interesting about this map is that these are the last years when there are so many different countries vying for power within what would become the United States, a time when borders were still much in flux. The legend delineates the claims of 1) the United States; 2) the Republic of Texas; 3) the English Crown; 4) Mexico; 5) the French Crown (this refers to Louis Philippe I – the monarchy would be abolished 5 years later).
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. This map has been updated from an earlier edition to reflect this momentous turn-of-events. These updates include the Republic’s inclusion in the legend and colored border on the map, but also the addition of the city of Austin, which has been squeezed somewhat awkwardly between lines of text in central Texas.
This is the United States in the years before its last great territorial expansion, which came with its victory in the Mexican-American War. We see that its current borders were not a fait accompli, even at this relatively late stage. Imagine how different history would be if Texas had remained independent or been reconquered by Mexico, or if Britain had established itself further in the West, not to mention if American Indians had been given more say.