This authentic antique map, originally dating to the height of the Civil War, showcases the western coast of Mexico and Baja California, spanning from Tehuantepec in the south to San Diego in the north. Also depicted is the eastern coast along the Gulf of Mexico, including the entire Texas coastline.
The map shows a detailed nautical cartography, which highlights specific areas of maritime interest along the coast. While essentially a French sea chart of Mexico’s coastline, this map has far more to offer its viewers than a mere littoral view. Notably, the map includes essential navigational details such as seabed topography and extensive depth soundings, seabed declinations and shoals, and crucial coastal features such as inlets, naval docks, and lighthouses (demarcated with swathes of yellow along the coast).
Our example also includes hand-written annotations in red, denoting the daily positions of a vessel coming in from the south and tacking its way north-northeast, until finally landing at the Punta dos Pescadores on the southern tip of Baja California. En route, indicated some five measurements before the landing, this vessel encountered a cyclone, which was marked on the map.
Although the specific mapmaker remains unknown, this large chart provides a comprehensive view of the entire region, including all of Baja California, which at the time was still referred to as Old California. The map was meticulously crafted based on the latest geographical information and initially published in 1863 under the ministry of Chasseloup-Laubat, by order of the Emperor. A corrected edition was released in 1887. The venue for this publication was the renowned Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine.
This gorgeous nautical chart is generally scarce on the market, and Neatline’s example of it is in excellent condition and original color, making it a valuable piece of historical cartography from the height of the Civil War.
Examples of this map are scarce ON the market, as well as in institutional collections. The French Naval Ministry obviously has copies, as will the French National Library (although this is not registered independently in OCLC). The OCLC lists only two institutional copies of the 1863 edition of this map: one at Cambridge, the other at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (OCLC no. 47987403).