Versatile Public Historian

Cartography: Final Project Draft

And thus the ride nears its end…

For my final atlas pages project, I decided to produce maps that I might well use in my dissertation: the journeys of three Mexicans through the United States in the 1830s. The three individuals were high officials:

  • Lorenzo de Zavala: Former governor of Mexico State and an author of Mexico’s progressive 1824 Constitution, Zavala fled after President Vicente Guerrero was overthrown in 1829. He traveled through the United States, later writing an influential memoir.
  • José María Tornel: Appointed minister to the United States in 1829, Tornel suffered an odd fate: After Guerrero’s overthrow, the new president, Anastasio Bustamante, tried to force Tornel to resign by cutting off his salary. Tornel refused to do so, living in Baltimore for a year. Tornel later published a memoir of his time in the United States.
  • Antonio López de Santa Anna: President of Mexico, Santa Anna had taken a leave of absence to suppress a rebellion in the northern region of Texas. After capturing the general, Texas rebels sent him on a diplomatic mission to the United States.

You can learn more by checking out the atlas pages here (in low resolution due to upload file size constraints). As can be seen, it is a work in progress. I need to polish up the writing, add my sources, and run down a couple of image permissions. Also, I need to work more closely on my base map–specifically merging northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan into Michigan Territory. That’s the first priority for the final project! Any feedback my classmates (or anyone else) can provide would be most appreciated!

For me, plotting out the journeys on the map–especially seeing points of commonality–was extremely helpful. In my eventual dissertation, I plan to look at these three visitors and their recollections of the United States, and also how U.S.-Americans perceived them. This exercise gave me good places to look as I assemble my sources.

I had already researched Santa Anna’s journey, but I had not done much work with Zavala’s or Tornel’s. This gave me the chance to look more closely at a published work about Tornel and at Zavala’s memoir.

I’ll look forward to hearing what others have to say in class tomorrow night… Oh wait, it’s past midnight, so tonight… Guess I should get to bed…


  1. mwill4

    Burning the midnight oil as well I see. I really enjoyed what I saw in the PDF of your atlas pages. I especially liked your style choice of using a full page to display four images with captions. I’ve been struggling with a way to display my maps while still keeping my text elements in tact, so I may try that approach and see if it works with what I’m doing.

  2. natesleeter

    I don’t know if I approve of merging the great state of Wisconsin into something called “Michigan Territory” . . . seriously, though your update on the journeys of the generals is really interesting. I’ll be interested to learn about these journeys in the context of Mexican and U.S. history, and what you discover about these relationships. It seems like this is a potentially rich area for spatial analysis.

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