Finely executed map of Northwestern Mexico, shortly after Mexican Independence.
The map is bounded by the Gila River in the North, the Rio Grande in the Northeast and Baja California on the west, extending south to Mexico City and Toluca. Most of the eastern portion is blank and shows only western towns, including S. Juan del Rio, Guanaxuato, Guadalaxara, Durango, Chihuahua and much of the Rio Grande River. Curiously, the town "Arizona" is shown south of the Gila River in today's New Mexico. Scores of villages are named in the northwest. The legend locates Hardy's route, Ranchos, Gold and Silver Spots, Real di Minas, Mines, Presidio, and Missions
Hardy's sailing tracks and sounding in the Gulf of California are shown. All of Baja is included with only a few towns -- La Paz, Loreto and Muleje.
R. W. Hardy in Sonora and the Gulf of California
Hardy's map illustrates his journal of his travels in Mexico in 1825 to 1828, one of the earliest English-language accounts of the Gulf of California and Baja California
Lieutenant Robert William Hale Hardy entered Mexico shortly after its independence from Spain, leaving it relatively free for travel by foreigners. Hardy was commissioned by the General Pearl and Coral Fishery Association of England to search the Gulf of California and negotiate the appropriate concessions from the Mexican government.
After six months in Mexico City meeting with important government officials, Hardy set out by land for Guaymas, via Morelia, Guadalajara, Tepic and Mazatlán. There he embarked for Guaymas, arriving in January, 1826, and, finding that his ship, Wolf, had not yet reached port, proceeded to explore the interior of Sonora and Sinaloa, with visits to Pitic (Hermosillo), Ures, Oposura, Alamos and El Fuerte, the then capital of the province. In July, Hardy explored the gulf to La Paz and then northward to Mulegé, Isla San Marcos, Tiburón and the mouth of the Colorado River. After extensive reconnaissance of the Colorado and Tiburón, Hardy returned to Guaymas and then set out by land for Mexico City via Oposura, Chihuahua, Parral, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, León and Guanajuato.
Hardy was a naval officer in the British Royal Navy.
He engered the Navy in 1806 as a second class boy, seeing action in Southeast Asia and at the Battle of New Orleans in 1814. He rose to the level of Lieutenant in 1815.
Hardy became a member of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1871.