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2007 Catalog > 8. Carey, Mexico or New Spain


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8. Matthew Carey. “Mexico or New Spain” (Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814). Published in Carey's General Atlas, Improved and Enlarged. Copperplate engraving with fine, bright, original outline hand color. 17 x 15" at neat line. Sheet size: 20 1/2 x 16 1/2". Very slight surface soiling. Excellent color and condition.

Price: SOLD.

One of the earliest atlases produced in America, Carey’s General Atlas was first issued in 1795 and enjoyed a long and distinguished publishing history. Included in the 1814 edition was this beautifully engraved map focusing on the Spanish Possessions in America. The map provides excellent detail throughout the Intendancies and Internal Provinces of Mexico. The Texas region, which is part of the Intendancy of San Luis Potosi, bears the name “Provincia de Texas.” The New Mexico region is essentially limited to the Rio Grande Corridor, a few Indian pueblos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The area around Salt Lake City is derived most likely from information collected during the travels of the eighteenth-century padres, Fathers Domínguez and Escalante.

Generally speaking, Carey's map is probably more closely based on Pike's Map of the Internal Provinces of New Spain (1810) than on Humboldt's 1811 map of New Spain, since it follows the same general political divisions of the former map but without the topographical emphasis of the latter. The geography continues through Central America, and an inset map provides detail of the remainder of Costa Rica and Panama. The area south of Mexico includes La Paz and an early, elongated shape for Guatemala.

Matthew Carey is generally considered the founder of serious map making in the United States. A native of Dublin, Carey arrived in Philadelphia in 1784, and in the following year, he set up a print shop and publishing house. After 1792, he expanded his primary focus on general popular reading material to include maps and atlases.

The present is a very attractive pre-republic map of Mexico by the first American publisher to issue cartographic works.

Refs.: Phillips, Atlases, 722, 1372; Ristow, pp. 151–154.

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