1874 Mitchell Atlas of the World – New Mexico and Arizona

 

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From the 1874 Mitchell Atlas of the World. Arizona and New Mexico. What detail these maps lack in the way of the hundreds of tiny towns of the region, it makes up for with the detail of the topography and water resources. Beautifully hand-colored, archival reproduction.

In 1881, Billy the Kid, "the Robin Hood of New Mexico", was shot in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Born William Henry McCarty Jr., Billy was a gunman turned frontier outlaw of the American Old West. Legend dictates that he murdered 21 men, but factual evidence suggests his total was between four and nine. Billy was described as tall, blue eyed, and baby faced with prominent front teeth. At times, he was said to be quite personable and charming. Incredibly agile, he was cunning and incredibly skilled with firearms. Exceedingly intelligent, the boy was had a knack for manipulating his people. Billy had been on the run since the age of 15. The man was largely unknown until a price was placed on his head by New Mexico's governor, Lew Wallace, which catapulted him to fame in 1881. He became nationally famous, a mythical icon and symbol of American glory. The people he was fighting against were criminals, as Lincoln Country was in a state of near-anarchy. Billy the Kid's legend joined ranks with Jesse James and Butch Cassidy, also notorious criminals, symbolizing the American regard for violence as the most honorable and heroic form of action.

In 1781, Yuma Indians massacred two Spanish missions at the Yuma Crossing, located in what is now Arizona and California. Relations between the Spaniards and Yuma Indians were strained and declining quickly. Over the course of 6 months, the settlers destroyed a six year long friendship. The tribe practiced polygamy and was quite violent, not to mention the fact that stealing was quite common. These combined practices conflicted with arguably the most major institution in the Spanish settlements, Christianity. Mission members pressured them to give up all these practices in order to become true Christians. The Yuma Indians were starchily against this. Land disputes were another large issue. Often times, the military would get involved in the conflicts, which led to a public whipping of a Native. Young men were quite opposed to the idea of losing their wives and enduring whippings, as they often had to. The year of 1781 brought a drought, causing great food shortages. If these weren't enough, the settlers allowed their mules to run free and paid no heed when the animals destroyed Native American fields. The Native had been enslaved in their own land and had no say in the way they were ruled. So, on July 17th, the Natives attacked the missions, beating priests, killing all others in sight, and burning houses. In the end almost 200 were slaughtered or captured. The Yuma crossing, which had served as a route from California to New Spain, was closed.  

Archival reproduction print from high resolution scan. 12" x 15"

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