Northern Part of the first edition of Arrowsmith's map of Mexico & the West Indies, the only edition to extend to the Pacific, thereby showing modern Texas and parts of New Mexico and Arizona.
The treatment of Mexico and Central America is the best and most accurate to date. Preceding the maps of Humboldt & Pike, the map is noteworthy in its accurate depiction of the regions addressed by each of these explorers in the following decade.
Rumsey notes that it is ironic that Humboldt would criticize Arrowsmith's use of Humboldt's map of Mexico in creating Arrowsmith's later maps of Mexico, when Arrowsmith created such a detailed and accurate map of the region prior to Humboldt's map. Rumsey further notes that while Arrowsmith's map of Mexico issued in 1810 is a more accurate and detailed treatment of the region, the 1803 map is impressive in its accuracy and detail.
Streeter notes that the coast line follows generally the Carta Esferica of 1799, but with the longitude of Sabine Pass nearly correct, unlike the Carta Esferica. Humboldt spends the better part of 4 pages criticizing the map's accuracy. Arrowsmith's map incorporates information from many sources, including surveys of John William Gerard De Brahm (Georgia & eastern Florida), Bernard Romans (Florida), and the Spanish Naval Surveys for the coastlines of Texas, etc.
The treatment of East & West Florida is quite detailed.
The map was reduced in subsequent editions, following the issuance of Arrowsmith's case map of Mexico in 1810.
Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) was born in 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’s three shops 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 HO, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the HBC, and other companies. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King. He died in 1823, whereby the business passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John.