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One of The First Maps of Baja California Based Upon Modern Surveys

Rare large scale map Baja California, prepared for the Mexican Government shortly after its Independence from Spain.

The map is dedicated to Guadalupe Victoria, the first president of the Mexican Republic. In addition to all of Baja California, the map depicts the area northward up to San Diego (with its name in the title) and a good portion of Mexico's northwest coast line, along with plans of Guyamas, La Paz and Pichilingue harbors. The map is based upon rare survey charts by the Spanish Direccion Hidrografia in Madrid.

It is believed that this map was prepared as part of a group of charts presented by the King of Spain to the President of Mexico, upon the occasion of Mexico's independence. Warren Howell was advised by a Mexican book seller in the 1950s that the maps were actually printed by Aaron Arrowsmith in London. The set was compiled in a rare bound format and also issued separately. This example was gleaned from the estate of Warren Howell, and has 3 to 4 inch margins on all sides.

Condition Description
19th-century paper. Very minor foxing and toning throughout. Several long repaired tears, expertly supported on verso.
Aaron Arrowsmith Biography

The Arrowsmiths were a cartographic dynasty which operated from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth. The family business was founded by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), who was renowned for carefully prepared and meticulously updated maps, globes, and charts. He created many maps that covered multiple sheets and which were massive in total size. His spare yet exacting style was recognized around the world and mapmakers from other countries, especially the young country of the United States, sought his maps and charts as exemplars for their own work.

Aaron Arrowsmith was born in County Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith had five premises in his career, most of which were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer.

Through his business ties and employment at the Hydrographic Office, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and others entities. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King.

Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823, whereby the business and title of Hydrographer to the King passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John. Aaron Jr. (1802-1854) was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and left the family business in 1832; instead, he enrolled at Oxford to study to become a minister. Samuel (1805-1839) joined Aaron as a partner in the business and they traded together until Aaron left for the ministry. Samuel died at age 34 in 1839; his brother presided over his funeral. The remaining stock and copper plates were bought at auction by John Arrowsmith, their cousin.

John (1790-1873) operated his own independent business after his uncle, Aaron Arrowsmith Sr., died. After 1839, John moved into the Soho premises of his uncle and cousins. John enjoyed considerable recognition in the geography and exploration community. Like Aaron Jr., John was a founder member of the RGS and would serve as its unofficial cartographer for 43 years. Several geographical features in Australia and Canada are named after him. He carried the title Hydrographer to Queen Victoria. He died in 1873 and the majority of his stock was eventually bought by Edward Stanford, who co-founded Stanford’s map shop, which is still open in Covent Garden, London today.