Texas Heritage, Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2001 Page: 12
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geography, politics, or, as on Austin's map,
notations about the desirability of the land
and the presence of wild game.
Maps usually have a compass rose or some
other symbol, such as an arrow, that helps
orient the map user to direction. Usually,
but not always, north is at the top of the
map. In addition, maps may have a legend
that explains the symbols used; for example,
rivers appear as blue lines or railroads
as lines with cross markings. Maps usually
have a scale that shows common measurements,
such as miles or kilometers, in reference
to the map. Sometimes this is
expressed as a ratio, indicating that the
map is drawn at 1:20,000 scale, meaning
that one unit on the map equals 20,000 of
these same units in real life. Maps may contain
coordinates marked along the borders
that are usually shown as measurements of
longitude and latitude. These help the user
Many maps have a
cartouche, a sometimes
elaborate feature that
contains the title of the map,
name of the cartographer
and publisher, date, and
place of publication.
know where the area is in terms of the
equator and other points east or west of
another map point, such as Greenwich or
Washington. Cartographers, as they finished
their maps, often framed them with a
border called a neatline. All of these parts
tend to vary through time as cartographers
use different styles, but all of the parts can
be used to help understand the map and the
times in which it was produced.
Austin used his published map to convey
all of this and a great deal more about
the Texas province to prospective settlers.
As with any map, it was easy to see how to
navigate from one place to another. For
example, the major road at the time is
depicted running from the east to the
southwest-from Nacogdoches, near the
United States border, to San Antonio de
Bexar -and continuing southwestward
across the Nueces. The map clearly indicates
the location of Austin's grant and
that of another empresario, Green DeWitt.
Prospective farmers and ranchers could
easily read the landscape and the commentaries
Austin provided to determine the
desirability of the land for their particular
use. The first-time inclusion of the new
towns of San Felipe, Harrisburg, Brazoria,
Matagorda, Victoria, and Gonzales speak
of the relatively rapid settlement of the
area. Austin's published map fulfilled his
desires for an instrument of colonization by
conveying in visual terms the unlimited
opportunities available in Texas.
Over time, the movement of peoples
across the landscape can be seen. One of
the first maps to reveal part of the land
that later became Texas is Martin
Waldseemiiller's, Tabula Terra Nova, 1523
(see map, page 13). In the northwest corner
of the map, west of the island of Isabella,
and in the curve of the Gulf of Mexico in
the region labeled Parias, is the land now
known as Texas. The map clearly indicates
that Texas is associated with the earliest
maps of the New World. Later, the
Barriero manuscript map of 1728 (figure 2,
page 15) depicts the efforts of the Spanish
government to enumerate and solidify its
holdings in New Spain. The French maps
of Father Vincenzo Coronelli, America
Septentrionale, 1688 (figure 1, page 15),
and Guilliaum Del'Isle's Carte de la
Louisiane et du Cours du Mississippi, 1718,
(figure 5, page 17) reveal the French
court's interest in Spain's northern territory.
The territory of La Louisiana, with its
boundaries that encompass the western
lands drained by the Mississippi all the way
to what is today the Pecos River in Far
West Texas, tells us how the French court
claimed territory cartographically, when
they could not physically hold the region.
In the early 19th century, the great savant
Alexander von Humboldt, who had access
to unpublished information in both the
Archives of the Indies and the materials hidden
away in Mexico, published Carte du
Mexique et des Pays Limetropes Situres ou Nort
et E'est, 1811 (figure 7, page 19). His publication
of a North American map that
included the Province de Texas in the
Intendencia de San Luis de Potosi boldly
revealed an enticing and complex landscape
ripe for Anglo exploration and settlement.
Maps are unique historic instrumentsand
certainly Austin's map underscores
this point. They portray the national interest
of countries, the hopes and dreams of
individuals, the movements of a diverse
people, the economic development of a
region and its resources, and, especially in
Texas, the cultural heritage of the area.
Images and words come together on maps
to convey the physical and cultural environment
that existed at the time they were
produced. Through historical maps of
Texas, it is possible to "see" the national
interest of first the Spanish, then the
French, the Mexicans, the AngloAmericans
in the Republic of Texas, and
finally, the inclusion of the territory in the
union by the United States.
Stephen F Austin in the 1820s and 1830s
realized the potential that a map of Texas
could have on the region. In attempting to
produce an instrument of colonization for
his empresario grant, Austin followed centuries
of mapmakers in surveying, compiling,
and producing both manuscript and
published maps of the territory. Austin's
HERITAGE * 12 * WINTER 2001
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2001, periodical, Winter 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45384/m1/12/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.