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Friday, April 1, 2011

Map of the Day: Durango haste San Antonio y desde Chihuaha por el paso de Sto. Domingo.de Ornedo, Pedro after de la Barcanda, Josep (1778)

Original Color: Sepia Ink and Watercolor Wash on Vellum
Framed Dimensions:  20 1/8" x 25"

  • One example of the incredible detail of the map is the twelve place names are given between San Antonio and the Rio Grande alone.
  • This map is the cornerstone historical document showing the birth of this new province, and is one of the most important maps of Texas to ever come on the market, both for its singular historical importance and its considerable visual appeal. 
This fascinating map was the first to show the independent "internal province" established in present-day Texas and Northern Mexico, as well as the first to delineate the small but growing road system in the region. Today this area is the most rapidly growing part of North America because due to free trade between Mexico and the United States. 220 years ago, however, it was a hostile, sparsely settled land, whose first governor was a Spaniard named Teodoro de Croix. When he was appointed "Commandant-General" of the newly created "Provincias Internas" on August 22, 1776, de Croix had no clear geographic understanding of the areas now under his command. One of his first projects, therefore, was a tour of inspection that lasted until the end of 1778. His surveyor was Josep de la Barcanda, Captain of Engineers at the new provincial capital of Durango, and this groundbreaking map is the result of his considerable talent.

This finished map was beautifully drawn from Barcanda's surveys by a skilled Jesuit priest named Pedro de Ormedo, whose signature appears at lower right. Ormedo employed decorative baroque motifs and showed presidios (forts) and towns in red, roads in yellow. The Rio Grande is clearly delineated by a double line. The map assumes a form halfway between that of a true map and a bird's eye view. The principal cities named are San Antonio, Chihuahua, Saltillo and Durango, and the map also shows the site of where Monterrey was later founded. Barcanda noted the roads that he had taken with de Croix during their inspection of the mineral rich new province, thus making this the first road map of Texas and the neighboring Mexican borderlands. A solitary road (detail 1) runs southwest from San Antonio and crosses the Rio Grande at San Juan Bautista, a town famous for a visit by the explorer Saint-Denis in 1714.

The road then continues southwest to the presidio of Santa Rosa, Coahuila, where it divides into two great arcs that skirt to the north and south of the vast arid waste of "Bolson de Mapimi," described by the explorer Lafora in 1767 as an "unpopulated land where enemy Indians and apostates from the missions take shelter and from which they set out to raid Nueva Vizcaya and Coahuila." The northern road runs roughly parallel to the south bank of the Rio Grande, then crosses briefly back into Texas in the Big Bend Country before reaching the city of Chihuahua. There it joins the Camino Real which connects Chihuahua with Durango to the south (detail 2). The southern road runs south through Monclova ("Coahuila") to Saltillo, then turns due west, intersecting the Camino Real north of Durango. 

Offered at $350,000.
We intend to have the lowest prices on ABE, Alibris, Biblio, AE, and Artnet while maintaining the highest levels of quality in the business for every offering. To inquire or view the complete offering, please contact our curators at info@aradernyc.com or call our 72nd Street NYC gallery at (212) 628-3668.

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