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David H. Burr, The State of Texas, New York: S. Stiles & Co, 1845, Map #93870, Holcomb Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Mapping Texas — Limits of the Republic: From Wyoming to the Gulf Coast

Discontent with Mexico’s central government led to the independence of Texas, the institution of a new system of government, and the establishment of new boundaries over disputed territories.[1] These contested claims, which extended the Republic of Texas to its largest size, led to the war between Mexico and the United States (1846–48).[2] Internally, the boundaries of the Republic shifted from empresario “colonies” and the political jurisdictions of Béxar, Brazos, and Nacogdoches to new land districts and counties from which land continued to be granted to individuals in the Republic of Texas.

To view any of the maps below in greater detail, click on the image to access the map’s database entry, then click on the magnifying glass icon to enter “Zoomify” mode.

David H. Burr, The State of Texas, New York: S. Stiles & Co, 1845, Map #93870, Holcomb Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Based on his 1833 Texas, David H. Burr’s 1845 updated map shows many of the changes in the short time since the earlier publication. No longer is Texas divided into the limits of the empresario contracts, it is now subdivided into an amalgam of the grants and the newly formed counties. In this edition, Burr highlighted the lands of the Galveston Bay Company in East Texas and identified the location of the German Colony at New Braunfels.

Richard S. Hunt and Jesse F. Randel, Map of Texas, complied from surveys on record in the General Land Office of the Republic, New York: J.H. Colton, 1839, Map # 93858, Holcomb Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Hunt and Randel published their Map of Texas with an accompanying Guide to the Republic of Texas that provided the reader an introduction to all things Texas. The map was compiled from “the best and most recent authorities,” and from the records of the Texas General Land Office. The first Texas Land Commissioner, John P. Borden, signed it and affixed his seal. An inset traces the full extent of the Rio Grande to its source. This map replaced Austin’s as being the most accurate of the Republic.

A.B. Gray, Map of the River Sabine from its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico in the Sea to Logan’s Ferry in Latitude 31° 58' 24" North, Part 2 of 3 — Central Part, Joint Boundary Commission, [1842], Map #87151, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

The six manuscript maps produced by A.B. Gray and the Joint Boundary Commission are the product of a three-year survey conducted along Texas’ eastern border. Although the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty established the boundary between Spanish Texas and the United States, it had not been officially mapped. It was not until the establishment of the Joint Boundary Commission that the eastern border of Texas was finally set.[3]

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[1] For more on the formation of the Republic of Texas see https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/index.html

[2] The U.S. had annexed Texas by this time. For more on the lead up to, and the actual battles of, the US-Mexico War see http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/index_flash.html

[3] For more on the Mexican-United Stated Boundary Commission see https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ncm04

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Texas General Land Office

Texas General Land Office

Official Account for the Texas General Land Office | Follow Commissioner George P. Bush on Twitter at @georgepbush. www.txglo.org