Historic Maps

by Phil Williamson

Long-time readers of the Double Cone Quarterly will remember that way back in the Fall Equinox 2001 issue and the Spring Equinox 2000 issue we published several historical maps of the Central Coast region of California, dating from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries, culled from the amazing resource that is American Memory - the online collections of the Library of Congress.

Well, during the last couple of years we've continued to pan the gravel of the World Wide Web for more cartographical treasures, and among the handful of gems washed out of the digital mud we found two eighteenth-century Spanish maps in the collections of California universities, and an early nineteenth-century map from the Library of Congress. As in previous Historical Maps features, we offer small images of the maps in their entirety, along with details showing their depictions of the Central Coast and links to the original images and text data.

Map of the Coast of California, published by Don Joseph Camacho y Brenes, 1785.

The title reads: "Este pedaso de costa de la California :: està lebantado por los Pilotos de esta carrera y enmendado ultimamente en el año de 1785 por el Alfer'z de Navio y el Primero Piloto D'n Joseph Camacho y Brenes. :: NOTA. Que para saver la Longitud en que se esta segun el Meridiano de Thenerife, se ha de tener entendido que la Punta de Reyes esta en 253°.52 de dicha Longitud, con esta (?) noticia se podra saver la que corresponde a~ qu. alquier otro Lugar de los de esta Costa."

Photocopy of ms. map in the Sociedad de geografica y estadistic, Mexico.

FROM: SunSite, the digital collections of the UC Berekely library
Citation URL: http://sunsite2.berkeley.edu/~gmills/links/berkeley/library/D1/BL84174226.shtml
Image URL: http://library.berkeley.edu/EART/maps/ca-1785.gif

Historical 1785 map of the coast of California

Detail showing the coast from la P. d'l Pinos (Point Pinos) to Boca d. los Esteros (Morro Bay). This is the earliest map we've seen that indicates the Sierra de Santa Lucia by name.

Note the label "R'o d. las Truchas" (Trout River). Could this be Cape San Martin and the mouth of Willow Creek? The dark square on the coast south of "R'o d. las Truchas" seems to indicate a structure. Note also Mission Soledad (founded in 1791, six years after the map's publication) pencilled in near the right edge. Mission San Juan Bautista (1797) is not indicated, nor (oddly) is Mission San Antonio (1771).

Historical 1785 map of the coast of California (detail)

Map of "California Antigua y Nueva" (Old and New California, or, New and Baja California) showing the missions and El Camino Real, published 1787. The map extends from as far north as "M.S. Clara" to as far south as "M.S. Tem Vellicata". Legend in crowned frame reads "Notas. En esta Carta no se escrib'n los nobr's de tod's las Islas, P'tos Rios y demas. p'r serhecha p'a solo demoftrar lo g'e andubo. y Mission's g'e fundo en la Nva. Calif'a el V.P. Fr. Junipero Serra, Presid'te de elias. La long. es arreglada al meridiano de S. Blas, Diego Francoso Sc. Mex'co, a'o 1787".

FROM: The California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California: Title Insurance and Trust Photo Collection, CHS-1645.
Digitally reproduced by the University of Southern California Digital Archive.
URL: http://library.usc.edu/uhtbin/idaimg?uscid=USC-1999-000414-1&nav=1

Historical 1787 map showing Alta and Baja Califirnia and El Camino Real

Detail showing the Central Coast from Pta Año Nuevo (Santa Cruz) to M. S. Gab'l (Mission San Gabriel). Note the dotted line indicating El Camino Real. As in the previous map, Mission San Antonio, although in existence at the time of publication, is not indicated on the map.

Historical 1787 map showing Alta and Baja Califirnia and El Camino Real (detail)

Carta esferica de los territorios de la alta y baja Californias y estado de Sonora :: Construida por los mejores noticias y observaciones propias del Teniente de Navio D. Jose M. Narvaes :: AÑO DE 1823.
By Jose M. Narvaes, 1823

FROM: The American Memory website at the Library of Congress.
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.
Call Number: G4300 1823 .N3 TIL Vault
URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g4300.mf000071

Historical 1823 map of Alta and Baja California

Detail showing the Central Coast from Pta de Pinos (Point Pinos) to M. de S. Miguel (Mission San Miguel). Note the label S. Bartolome, marked with the triangular symbol indicating a rancheria. This is San Bartolome del Pleyto, where Mission San Antonio maintained some corrals; later the site of the community of Pleyto that was inundated by Lake San Antonio.

Historical 1823 map of Alta and Baja California (detail)

Another detail of the same map, showing part of the legend indicating the number of neophytes (resident baptized Indians) in the Missions of the Monterey district. Note that Mission San Antonio has by far the largest neophyte population in the district - in fact the second-largest in Alta California, after San Juan Capistrano (2663). The legend also indicates the total population of Alta California in 1823 as 21,920. A little more legroom in those days...

Historical 1823 map of Alta and Baja California (detail showing populations of Neophte Indians)