The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 309
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
neglected field, and this book serves to solidify his position among cartographic
history scholars. In many ways, Shooting the Sun, which was published by the Book
Club of Texas, is a companion to his earlier work, Flags Along the Coast, also pub-
lished by the Book Club in 1995. While Flags traces the charting of the Gulf of
Mexico from 1519 to 1759, Shooting the Sun emphasizes the mapping of the inte-
rior of Texas by direct observation.
Jackson bases the book on the premise that maps are important primary sources
worthy of serious study. The two-volume work concentrates on the maps them-
selves and the history they reveal. Jackson cautions readers that maps have to be
looked at in their proper context, not as "isolated units" and curiosities, but in rela-
tion to the maps that preceded them and the explorations that generated them.
Unless this is done, writes Jackson, then maps "will remain quaint relics of the past
with little meaning beyond their value to the collectors' market .. ." (p. 161).
Jackson's intention in writing the book was to give the reader a "useful survey of
Texas maps and mapmakers from the time Europeans first set foot on the land
until the era of the Texas Revolution" (p. vii). And he succeeds magnificently.
Jackson begins the complex but interesting history of Texas maps in 1689,
when Don Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora used the diaries of Alonso de Leon,
written as a result of his search for La Salle's Fort St. Louis, to produce the first
"scientific" map of Texas. He ends the book with a detailed look at the maps that
Stephen F. Austin produced and their impact on the mapmakers who followed
him. Between Siguenza and Austin, Jackson introduces the reader to the work of
major and minor figures in the history of Texas mapping, always paying close
attention to the maps they produced and what these maps contributed to the
unfolding of knowledge about the land. Spanish, French, German, and
American mapmakers are examined in detail, and Jackson is never at a loss to
express his opinion about them and their accomplishments.
Jackson's insights are sprinkled throughout the book and are rarely off the
mark. In discussing the Spanish colonial period, for example, Jackson observes
that the mapping of Texas fell almost exclusively to soldiers in the royal service,
rather than to the missionaries carrying the message of Catholicism to the
Indians. He also points out that there was no agency or office in Spain or Mexico
that maintained a complete record of reconnaissances and the maps they generat-
ed. This lack of an archives resulted in many maps being essentially forgotten or
lost. Another example of Jackson's insight would be his claim that by the end of
1727 the French had a better understanding of the Texas interior than did the
Spanish. This was a result of St. Denis's experience in Texas and his funneling of
information to French missionary and mapmaker Francois Le Maire.
Jackson is at his best, however, when he is analyzing the maps he has located
in archives and libraries around the world. His research for the book was con-
ducted in Spain, Mexico, England, France, and across the United States, and he
brings this research to bear on each map, giving the reader not only a detailed
discussion of the map, but also a clear sense of the map's provenance and influ-
ences. Jackson is also a cartoonist, and his visual acuity has no doubt helped him
decipher graphic images like maps and convey his findings to readers.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/361/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.