Map of Upper California by the U.S. Ex. Ex. and Best Authorities

Cartographer(s): Charles Wilkes
Date: 1841
Place: Washington, D.C.
Dimensions: 29.3 x 21.1 cm (11.5 x 8.3 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00493 Category: Tag:

1841 pre-Fremont map of the West


This crisply drawn map covers all the American West south of 42 ° N and west of the Rocky (Anahuac) Mountains, with by far the greatest detail in California. The cartography is distinctly pre-Fremont. The Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys combine to form the large Buenaventure Valley with the Rio San Buenaventura in the area of today’s Salinas River.

The map pre-dates the discovery of gold by several years, but in the vicinity of Sutter’s mill the settlement of New Helvetica is located. Along the coast the mission towns are named, but there is no mention here of Los Angeles even though it was a self-sustaining farming community as early as 1821. The Colorado River is shown trending in an oddly straight course giving no credit to the Grand Canyon. The Great Basin, called the Great Sandy Plain, is crossed by Smith’s Track and is bounded east and west by the Colorado Range and the California Range. The Great Salt Lake is Youta Lake and the Salt River is called the Inconstant R.

Interesting notes explain the unknown qualities of the land and another describe the Indians as “the most miserable objects in creation,” an unfortunate depiction.


Condition Description

A crisp impression on a clean, bright sheet.


Wheat (TMW) #458; Wheat (Gold) #23.