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Samuel Augustus Mitchell: Oregon, Upper California, & New Mexico

Map: tempMid
Cartographer: Samuel Augustus Mitchell
Title: Oregon, Upper California, & New Mexico
Date: 1849
Published: Philadelphia
Width: 13 inches / 34 cm
Height: 16 inches / 41 cm
Map ref: USA9127
The western United States published at the start of the California Gold Rush in 1849. The gold regions of California are coloured yellow. The Oregon Trail and Santa Fe Trail are traced with red lines.

This fascinating map divides the American west into two enormous regions: Oregon and Upper California. At the time of publication in 1849, California had only belonged to the United States for one year having been annexed after the Mexican American War (1846-8). The boundary dispute over the border between British Canada and the Oregon Territory had also just been resolved with the ratification of the Oregon Treaty in 1846.

An earlier and larger edition of this map, published by Mitchell in 1846, shows both of these border conflicts as yet unresolved. However, by the time this map was published only three years later to advertise the California Gold Rush, both the northern and southern borders of the United States looked much as they do now. A dashed line also marks the proposed eastern border of California, an important step towards statehood which was achieved in September, 1850. The settlement of Nueva Helvetia, located on the site of modern-day Sacramento, is the only Gold Rush town to be marked on the map.

Bright original hand-colour. [USA9127]