This vivacious lithographed school map of Mexico was first compiled and created for the Mexican school system in 1895. It was an extremely popular map due to its accuracy and visual appeal, but not least due to the man who compiled it. Among its stand-out features was the printing of each Mexican state in a distinct color, allowing children and adults to distinguish them easily. Due to its popularity, the map was updated and re-issued three times, at intervals of roughly 20 years. There are, consequently, editions dating to 1895, 1906, and 1926, respectively, with the latest edition being the state offered by Neatline.
Because the map was compiled long after the Gadsden Purchase, there is no longer any evidence of the decades-long territorial strife that followed in the wake of the US-Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1846-48). There are, however, subtle signs of the Gadsden Purchase on the border with New Mexico, where the sharp 90-degree bend shows the artificial nature of this frontier after the purchase. Beyond that, the US-Mexican border is defined by the Rio Bravo.
The map was made for standard educational purposes and to provide a visual tool for school children (and others) to understand Mexico’s national geography. Chávez was a true believer in education and was adamant that under his tutelage, the children of Mexico would achieve higher levels of education and, indeed, higher levels of ambition.
In addition to the usual geographical detail in most educational maps, we find a range of other features. Shipping routes – both for passengers and goods – are indicated, with the Mexican lines distinguished by a small national flag. The wavy red lines in the maritime space are not shipping lanes but show the presence of submerged cables for communication. The railroad networks have also been highlighted on land with bright red lines. Interestingly, railroads are the only feature on the map that continues beyond the border and into the United States.