Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/704

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teenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, among them Le Clerc, La Hontan, and Lafiteau, attest this fact with a host of examples, and other notices of such maps are given by Cop way and Schoolcraft.

A much greater advance in map-making had been made in Mexico and Central America centuries before the European immigration. The whole Aztec kingdom was registered and mapped off at the time the Spaniards came into the country. In the plat-books the crown land was colored violet, the land of the nobles red, and the common lands yellow; and the plats were so carefully executed that they were to a certain extent accepted as evidence under Spanish rule. These books, a remarkable result of a highly developed civilization in an Indian state, were of great importance in processes, and it is possible to obtain satisfactory information from them even now. Thirty-six of the registry-maps are still left in the "Codex Mendoza"; Alexander von Humboldt publishes in his "Atlas of New Spain" a representation of a carefully delineated estate concerning which an action was brought; and Brasseur de Bourbourg and Prescott speak of maps in the archives of the Aztec princes, which represented in regular order the mountains, woods, rivers, cities, boundaries, roads, and coast-lines, and contained valuable statistical and other information on their margins. Alexander von Humboldt saw, in the hands of a native of a town near Tetlama, a geographical map that had been hidden in the woods from the Europeans, which was made before the landing of Cortez. The conquerors of Mexico themselves received from the king a plan of the coast with its rivers and capes painted on cotton cloth, and from the natives another map that indicated all the rivers, mountains, and large towns from Xikalanko to Nicaragua. A fragment of a very interesting historical document still exists in the library of the city of Mexico. It is the ground-plan of Tenochtitlan, the estate in which Montezuma II entertained his guest Cortez, and which the latter knew so well how to plunder. Bullock saw it, and had a copy taken of it, in 1824. Aubin had in his possession, in 1860, twenty-five leaves of the Mexican land-register, with portraits of the kings of the last period of independence, and texts added from the years 1539, 1573, and 1599, with what is more important for us, three maps by the last Aztec prince, Guatemozin. It was copied at his command, in 1533, from older maps, and contained data from 1361. Three other maps of the same brave but unfortunate ruler, which go back to 1438, were copied in 1704 by the royal Spanish interpreter, Manuel Mancio. Finally, Peter Martyr describes a similar map, painted on white cotton cloth, that was not less than thirty feet long.

Squier and Davis state that the Toltec states Nicaragua, for instance had books written on deer-skin, in which were marked by the elders of the towns, in black and red, the boundaries of the districts, the rivers, lakes, woods, and even single estates. In Peru relief-maps