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2007 Catalog > 56. Government Land Office, Territory of New Mexico.


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56. U.S. General Land Office / Charles Roeser. “Territory of New Mexico” (New York: Julius Bien, 1879). Two-color lithograph. 29 x 23 1/2" at neat line. Sheet size: 33 1/2 x 26 1/2". Minor damp stain in u. l. and l. l. corners and at centerfold; 2 wormhole losses in margin at l. center, well away from map. Overall excellent condition with fine, bright color.

Price: SOLD

This outstanding and rare map of New Mexico Territory provides important settlement and land-use information for a pivotal year in the state’s history. In 1879, the railroad arrived in New Mexico, opening full-scale trade and migration into the territory from the East and the Midwest. The map provides all the necessary data for developers and settlers, including large private land grants shown in bright orange, enormous horizontal counties, subdivided townships, military and Indian reservations, Indian pueblos, county seats, cities and towns, and completed railroads.

The validity of land grant claims in New Mexico has been controversial from the origins of the system during both the Spanish (1598–1821) and Mexican (1821–1846) periods in the state’s history. In 1854, six years after New Mexico came under the jurisdiction of the United States, the federal government established the office of the Surveyor General of New Mexico to ascertain the validity of the land claims under the laws of Spain and Mexico and to make recommendations to Congress regarding the justification of those claims. Information from the Surveyor General’s office was posted to the present map, although the validity of certain claims continued to be reviewed into the twentieth century.

This is an exceptional, large-scale, and attractive map of New Mexico produced during an era of significant change. The territory was just emerging from its “lawless” years represented by the Lincoln Country War and was coming into its own as a destination for new enterprise.

Ref.: Phillips, Maps, p. 495; Rumsey Map Collection, list no. 4621.

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