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Antique Maps of the "Horizontal" Territory of Arizona

Arizona Territory

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History of the "horizontal" territory of Arizona

In 1854, when President Franklin Pierce signed a law ratifying the agreement negotiated by James Gadsden at the end of the previous year, the United States purchased from Mexico almost 30,000 square miles of land, south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande. This "Gadsden Purchase" included territory to the south of those previously acquired by the U.S. at the end of the Mexican War in 1848, basically adding land needed in order to be able to run a trans-continental railroad along a route being promoted by Southern business interests.

This land was added to what was then New Mexico territory and as American settlers moved in, this exacerbated what had been a simmering problem in the territory, viz. the difficulty of governing the southern part of New Mexico from the capital, Santa Fe, located in the northeastern part of the territory. Most of the population in New Mexico centered around the capital and in the northern counties and the rugged terrain in the middle of the territory made communication between this area and the southern parts difficult. Those in the southern region--called either "Gadsdonia" or "Arizona"--felt that they were being ignored by the north-centered territorial government, and in 1856 conventions were held in Tucson and Mesilla which called for the creation of a new territory to be created from the southern part of New Mexico. The U.S. Congress, however, deemed that the population was too small to create this territory.

The dissatisfaction of those in the south continued and this only increased as large numbers of new settlers poured in after gold was discovered along the Gila River in 1858. In July 1860, another convention was held in Tucson, which drafted a constitution for a "Territory of Arizona," to be organized out of New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel. The convention elected a territorial governor, Lewis Owings, and sent a delegate to Congress.

This time Congress refused to accept the new territory because of the slavery issue. Many of those in the proposed new territory were pro-slavery, with business connections with the southern states, and this new territory lay below the old Missouri Compromise line of demarcation between slave and free states. Thus anti-slavery Congressmen were convinced the new territory would eventually become a slave state, something they were keen to avoid.

When the Confederacy was created in February, 1861, Arizonians finally saw a new opportunity to create their own territory, so a convention was held in Mesilla, which voted on March 16, 1861, to secede from the Union and petition to join the Confederate States. These eastern Arizonians asked those to the west join them, resulting in a convention, held in Tucson, where the westerners voted, on March 28, 1861, to join those in the east in forming the new, secession territory. Owings was again selected as governor, but things didn't proceed any further for a few months.

That summer, Col. John Robert Baylor, from Texas, moved his troops into the area to support the Arizonians' cause. He fought and won the Battle of Mesilla and then on August 1, 1861, declared the creation on the Confederate Territory of Arizona. This act was authorized by the Confederate Congress on January 13, 1862, and then officially recognized when President Jefferson Davis signed the proclamation on February 14, 1862.

The initial victories and political success of the Arizonians lasted only a short time. In March, 1861, at the Battle of Glorieta Pass--just southeast of Santa Fe--a Confederate army was victorious on the field, but their supply train was destroyed and it soon became clear that it was militarily and logistically impractical to try to maintain their forces in New Mexico and Arizona. Thus by July 1861, the Confederate troops had retreated to Texas and the Arizona territorial government set up shop in El Paso. The Confederacy never again wielded any control within the borders of its purported territory of Arizona, but still the territory continued to be represented in the Confederate Congress and troops fought under its banner until the end of the Civil War.

By the 1860s it was clear that New Mexico Territory was too large to be practically governed from Santa Fe and so needed to be divided. When in February 1861 all the Southern representatives left Congress, it was then practical to create new territories in any shape that those in the North wished. In order to preclude a de facto recognition of the Confederate territory and to preclude a potential slave state, Congress decided to create the new territory of Arizona not with an east-west axis from the southern part of New Mexico, but on a north-south axis from the western part of the territory. On February 24, 1863, Congress passed an act to establish a slave-free Territory of Arizona, from the lands lying west of a line run south of the western border of Colorado.


Available maps

"Colton's United States of America." New York: Johnson & Browning, 1859. 15 1/2 x 26. Lithograph. Original hand color. Paper darkened and some stains. Some rubbed or whitened surface areas in western US, not affecting very much printed surface. Chip in bottom margin. Denver.

An important atlas map of the United States showing guesses, hopes, and mistakes concerning the political configuration of the western part of the country on the eve of the Civil War. The map is entitled "Colton's United States," but it was issued by Johnson & Browning. A.J. Johnson had worked for J.H. Colton as a book canvasser, but then began helping him with his publications, including publishing an 1859 edition of Colton's Atlas, along with his partner, I.L. Browning.

This map contains three examples of incorrect territorial depictions. One is of the never created territory of Colona (though Colorado was created essentially in the same place two years later). In addition to this, a new territory is shown in the western part of Utah Territory, what became Nevada, although that territory would also not be created for another two years (the second version of this map shows Nevada extending down into the New Mexico territory). The final incorrect territorial depiction is a horizontal Arizona lying to the south of New Mexico. The map contains much else of interest, including mail routes, explorer routes and the potential lines for the proposed transcontinental railroad (these lines are missing from the second version of this map). Overall, a unique picture of the country on the eve of the Civil War, showing the political forces at play, even if not necessarily the correct borders. $375

"Johnson's North America." New York: Johnson & Browning, 1860. 22 x 17. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A map of North America at an interesting period in its history. In the north, Alaska is still shown as "Russian Possessions" and what would, beginning in 1867, become Canada is still shown as "British America." In the south, Chiriqui, Veragua, and S. Jago Vero are shown an independent of Columbia, which at that time had control over Panama. In the United States, this map is interesting in showing the pre-Civil War situation in the American West, including a couple of proposed territories. Nevada Territory, though not created for another year, is tentatively shown, as is the proposed horizontal Arizona Territory, running below New Mexico. Arizona was created a year later, but with a north-south shape, rather than the east-west one shown here. $250

Mitchell US 1860
J.H. Young. "No. 5. Map of the United Sates." From Mitchell's School and Family Geography. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, [1856]-1860. 10 5/8 x 17. Engraving by E. Yeager. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A fine map of the United States issued about 1860 in Mitchell's influential School and Family Geography. The map is filled with myriad topographical details, including rivers, towns, lakes, and mountains. Political information includes indications of states and territories, highlighted in contrasting shades. Also shown are early roads and railroads. It is for the American West that the map is of particular interest. Issued a few years after the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the map shows those two territories with considerable information of rivers, newly established towns, forts, and Indian tribes with impressive detail. In the northwest, Oregon was created as a state in 1859, and what was the eastern part of the old Oregon Territory was given to Washington Territory, shown with the unusual shape it retained for only a few years. And, of course, this map contains a nice example of the horizontal Arizona territory. $325

Phelps and Watson US
George W. Colton. "Phelps & Watson's New Map of the United States." New York: Phelps & Watson, 1860. 36 1/2 x 37. Lithograph by John M. Atwood. Decorative border designed and engraved by W.S. Barnard. Printed by Lang & Laing. Conserved and mounted on new linen, with original rollers. Overall, very good condition. Denver.

The map presents a most interesting picture of the political situation in the country on the eve of the Civil War. In 1859, the state of Oregon was created, with Washington Territory gaining the eastern part of the old Oregon Territory, giving it an inverted "L" shape which it had only for two years. The rest of the west consists of very large territories, and the unorganized Dakota region, which did not become a territory until the following year. One of the most interesting features of the map is an Arizona Territory shown running east-west to the south of New Mexico. The history of this starts with the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, which expanded the size of the New Mexico Territory and created fears that the government in Santa Fe would not effectively govern the southern parts. Beginning in 1856, a number of proposals were made by local inhabitants to create a Territory of Arizona to the south of New Mexico, but Congress always failed to act. Finally in April 1860, a convention was held which adopted a constitution for a provisional Arizona Territory, lying south of the 34th parallel. When the southern states seceded from the Union, this territory declared itself the Confederate Territory of Arizona. In 1863, Congress finally did create an Arizona Territory, but in order to avoid any de facto recognition of the Confederate territory, a north-south border was used to separate Arizona from New Mexico, rather than the east-west border of the previous proposals.

1860 was a time when there was great interest in a transcontinental railroad, and this map shows the routes for various the proposed routes, as well as indicating the then current overland mail route to California, as well as the Pony Express route in the north. Phelps & Watson are known for their "pictorial" maps, which included decorative elements beyond those typically used by the other publishers of the day. The elaborate border design includes vignettes scenes and a large wood engraving, by [Benson J.] Lossing & [William] Barrett, of the Declaration of Independence. 1860 was on the cusp of a period of great change in the nation and this map is a wonderful snapshot of its fleeting situation before. $3,400

Smith United States
"United States." From Smith's New Geography, by Roswell C. Smith. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1860. 9 7/8 x 12. Lithograph. Original hand color. Slight smudging in margins. Very good condition. Denver.

A nice map of the United States from that crucial year of 1860. It not only shows the horizontal Arizona, but a few other never-there territories. For one is shows the eastern part of the old Oregon Territory as a separate territory, though it was in fact joined to Washington Territory when Oregon became a state.

It also shows two gold rush territories, the outgrowth of the Comstock Lode rush and Pike's Peak gold rush. The prospectors there demanded creation of new territories so they could control their own affairs. Those in western Utah were rewarded in 1861 with the creation of Nevada--shown on this map as a proposed territory. Those in western Kansas were also rewarded with a new territory, Colorado, that same year. However, in 1859, the proposal from those in Denver City was for a territory of Jefferson--shown on this map--but with the secession of the Southern states in 1861, the name of a Southern figure was thought inappropriate.

There is much other fascinating information, of mountain ranges, rivers, Indian tribes, and forts, but of particular interest are all the proposed routes for the trans-continental railroad, from one just south of the Canadian border to one running just north of Mexico. It was one in the central region--shown here--which won out and which was completed about a decade later. $325

Smith western US 1860
"Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, New Mexico." From Smith's New Geography, by Roswell C. Smith. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1860. 9 7/8 x 12. Lithograph. Original hand color. With some stains. Otherwise, very good condition. Denver.

A map from the same geography as that above, but focused just on the part of the United States west of the Continental Divide. $325

Mitchell US 1861
"Map of the United States, and Territories. Together with Canada &c." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1861. 13 1/2 x 21 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A map of the United States at the beginning of the Civil War, issued by S.A. Mitchell, Jr., who took over from his father in 1860 and began to issue his New General Atlas. This is the second edition of his map of the United States and it is one of the most interesting images. Between 1854, with its Kansas-Nebraska Act, and 1860, no new territories were created, but when the southerners succeeded in 1860 and 1861, northerners in Congress were able to act and within months, three new territories were created, all shown on this map. In the upper plains, a very large Dakota Territory was created out of the northern part of Nebraska, which was cut off at the 43rd parallel. Because of the demand for local government both in the Pike's Peak and Comstock gold rushes, the new territories of Utah and Colorado were created, both taking land from the large Utah Territory, and the latter also taking from the western part of Kansas. And, Mitchell was fooled like other publishers of the day, so he shows the never-existing horizontal Arizona territory. There are many other features of interest, including the locations of forts, trails, and the Pony Express route. $325

Drioux and Leroy US
M.M. Drioux & Charles Leroy. "Carte Physique et Politique des États-Unis Canada et Partie du Mexique." Paris: Eugene Belin, ca. 1861-64. From Atlas Universel et Classique. 11 1/2 x 16 1/2. Engraving by Charpentier. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A fascinating map of the United States the presents a distorted attempt by French mapmakers Drioux and Leroy to keep up with the changes to the political landscape of the county between 1861 and 1864. This was a period in which new territories and states were proposed and created in a manner hard enough for an American cartographer to keep up with, but impossible for those across the Atlantic, though Drioux & Leroy did try.

In 1861, three new territories were created, Colorado, Nevada and Dakota, and each is here depicted. Interestingly, the only settlements shown in Colorado are St. Vrain's trading post, Forts Pike, Massachusetts, and Bents, Auraria and Fontaine City. Also that year, the settlers in the southern part of New Mexico tried to form a new territory, Arizona, lying south of the 34th parallel. When Arizona did come in as a territory in 1863, it came in out of the western part of New Mexico, but it is shown here in the incorrect form. In 1863, Idaho was created out of the western part of Dakota, and then a year later the northeastern part of Idaho became Montana. Both of these new territories are depicted, and labeled "Etat projetè), but here Montana is made out of the southern part of Idaho. A final political oddity is the appearance of West Virginia, created in 1862, labeled "Virginie Oc. ou Kanawaha," the latter being a name proposed at one time for the state.

Besides these interesting political divisions, the map is a lovely cartographic statement. The pastel shades highlight the states and territories and topographical information is somewhat sparse, but nicely drawn. Rivers are shown and towns and forts indicated throughout. Locations of Indian tribes are also given. $250

Johnson 1862 western US
"Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1862. 16 3/4 x 24 1/4. Lithograph. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A classic horizontal map of Arizona from Johnson's classic 19th century atlas. Towns, roads, railroads, rivers, lakes, and mountains are shown throughout, as well as Indian tribes, the routes of explorers, and the "Emigrant Road" to California. The map also contains numerous notes on the history and geography of the region. Besides the Arizona depiction, the map is also of interest for its renderings of other territories at the time. For instance, Nevada is shown the year after it was created out of the Utah. Colorado Territory, also created in 1861, shown for the first time on this edition. $525

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