Unique annotated example of this finely detailed map of Central America, prepared by John Baily, who served as a surveyor of Nicaragua and was an early proponent of a canal across Central America, published in London by Trelawney Saunders.
The present example has been annotated to show "Limite Acceptado Por El General Justo Rufino Barrios (Approximado)." These limits (boundaries), reflect a section of the westernmost part of Guatemala, and are delimited by redlines and pencil shading. These annotations suggest 1 of 2 possibilities.
The redlines shown are nearly exactly the current boundary between Mexico and Guatemala, as settled in 1881-1882. From the time of independence of Mexico and the Guatemala, the two countries had been in dispute over the boundary. Both Mexico and Guatemala had claimed Chiapas and Soconusco. Beginning in 1881, Justo Rufino Barrios, then president of Guatemala, claimed certain lands in Soconusco and Chiapas. In 1882, Mexico and Guatemala began discussions which resulted in a preliminary agreement, negotiated in New York on August 12, 1882, whereby Guatemala gave up its claims. As part of the final treaty, the two countries agreed to use straight lines between key points known and accepted by both countries. The measurement and demarcation work was completed in 1902. Soconusco in Guatemala advanced to the river Suchiate and Mexico received the county of Motozintla.
The second possibility is that based upon the title given to Barrios (El General) and it must be assumed that the map was annotated sometime between mid-1871 and Barrios' election as president in April 1873, and was most likely during the period when he was serving as the leader of the Liberal Rebellion in Guatemala or shortly thereafter, when he was serving as military commander of the western Departments of Guatemala. As such, the boundary reflects the lands held by Guatemalan rebels, then under the command General (and later President) Justo Rufino Barrios (1835-1885). Barrios, a young lawyer, joined the rebel cause in 1867, when a revolt broke out in western Guatemala. The locals sought to return the region to its former status as the independent state of Los Altos. Los Altos had previously been the sixth state of the Federal Republic of Central America (1838-1840), and a short-lived independent republic (1848).
Los Altos occupied eight departments in the west of modern Guatemala, as well as the Soconusco region in the Mexican state of Chiapas. In 1871, Justo Rufino Barrios, along with Miguel García Granados and other generals and dissidents, issued the "Plan for the Fatherland", proposing to overthrow Guatemala's long entrenched Conservadora (conservative) administration. They ultimately organized a revolution to overthrow the Conservative government of Marshal Vicente Cerna . On June 30, 1871, the liberal forces entered Guatemala City and Miguel García Granados became provisional president, ruling until June 4, 1873 . His government launched the so-called Liberal Reform of 1871, decreeing inter alia freedom of the press and freedom of religion, the abolition of tithes and religious orders and expelling the Jesuits, in addition to promoting secular education. Barrios served as the military commander of the western departments and would go on to serve as president of Guatemala, from Apirl 1873 until his death in 1885.
The annotations on the map, which reference Barrios in the title of General, suggest that the map would have been drafted in prior to July 1871, at which time the rebels had secured control of the Capital.
We believe that the annotations are more likely done circa 1882.
John Baily was an Englishman who lived for many years in Central America. He was employed in 1837-38 by the government of Nicaragua to survey a potential canal route from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. In 1850, Baily published this book and a separate map of Central America (the present map), which showed four proposed routes for a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Baily was convinced of the "remarkable capacity for colonization" of the Central American countries. Baily compared agricultural conditions in Central America to those in southern Texas and argued that European farmers who settled in the region and worked hard would prosper and "prepare a handsome inheritance for their posterity."