The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande which had been claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new state of Texas. The Mexican Cession (529,000 sq. miles) was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles (including land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces), followed by the acquisition of Alaska (about 586,000 sq. miles).
The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Most of the area had been the Mexican territory of Alta California, while a southeastern strip on the Rio Grande had been part of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, most of whose area and population were east of the Rio Grande on land that had been claimed by the Republic of Texas since 1835, but never controlled or even approached aside from the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Mexico controlled the territory later known as the Mexican Cession, with considerable local autonomy punctuated by several revolts and few troops sent from central Mexico, in the period from 1821–22 after independence from Spain up through 1846 when U.S. military forces seized control of California and New Mexico on the outbreak of the Mexican–American War. The northern boundary of the 42nd parallel north was set by the Adams–Onís Treaty signed by the United States and Spain in 1821 and ratified by Mexico in 1831 in the Treaty of Limits (Mexico-United States). The eastern boundary of the Mexican Cession was the Texas claim at the Rio Grande and extending north from the headwaters of the Rio Grande, not corresponding to Mexican territorial boundaries. The southern boundary was set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which followed the Mexican boundaries between Alta California (to the north) and Baja California and Sonora (to the south). The United States paid Mexico $15 million for the land which became known as the Mexican Cession.
Alta California, known sometimes unofficially as Nueva California, California Septentrional, California del Norte or California Superior, began in 1804 as a province of New Spain. Along with the Baja California peninsula, it had previously comprised the province of Las Californias, but was split off into a separate province in 1804. Following the Mexican War of Independence, it became a territory of Mexico in April 1822 and was renamed "Alta California" in 1824. The claimed territory included all of the modern US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.
Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico were captured soon after the start of the war and the last resistance there was subdued in January 1847, but Mexico would not accept the loss of territory. Therefore, during 1847, troops from the United States invaded central Mexico and occupied the Mexican capital of Mexico City, but still no Mexican government was willing to ratify transfer of the northern territories to the U.S. It was uncertain whether any treaty could be reached. There was even an All of Mexico Movement proposing complete annexation of Mexico among Eastern Democrats, but opposed by Southerners like John C. Calhoun who wanted additional territory for their crops but not the large population of central Mexico.
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and later a territory of independent Mexico. The first capital was San Juan de los Caballeros from 1598 until 1610, and from 1610 onward the capital was La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís. The naming, capital, the Palace of the Governors, and rule of law were retained as the New Mexico Territory, and the subsequent U.S. State of New Mexico, became a part of the United States. The New Mexican citizenry, primarily consisting of Hispano, Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Comanche peoples, became citizens of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. It is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.
The All of Mexico Movement was a political movement to expand the United States, so that it would include all of Mexico. It was an expression of Manifest Destiny but it never went into effect. The United States only took the underpopulated districts in the far North of Mexico via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico, following the Mexican–American War of 1846-48.
Eventually Nicholas Trist forced the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, explicitly redefining the border between Mexico and the United States in early 1848 after President Polk had already attempted to recall him from Mexico as a failure. Although Mexico did not overtly cede any land under the treaty, the redefined border had the effect of transferring Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico to the control of the United States. Equally important, the new border also acknowledged Mexico's loss of Texas, both the core eastern portion and the western claims, neither of which had been formally recognized by Mexico until that time.
Nicholas Philip Trist was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was the grandson of James Madison's former Philadelphia landlady. He attended West Point and studied law under Thomas Jefferson, whose granddaughter he married. He was also private secretary to Andrew Jackson, whom he greatly admired. Trist served as a conduit for James Madison to President Jackson. He alone negotiated an end to the Mexican-American war, which brought into the United States all or part of 10 states.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.
The U.S. Senate approved the treaty, rejecting amendments from both Jefferson Davis to also annex most of northeastern Mexico and Daniel Webster not to take even Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.The United States also paid $15,000,000 ($482 million in 2016 dollars) for the land, and agreed to assume $3.25 million in debts to US citizens. While technically the territory was purchased by the United States, the $15 million payment was simply credited against Mexico's debt to the U.S. at that time.
Jefferson Finis Davis was an American politician who served as the only President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. As a member of the Democratic Party, he represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives prior to switching allegiance to the Confederacy. He was appointed as the United States Secretary of War, serving from 1853 to 1857, under President Franklin Pierce.
Daniel Webster was an American statesman who represented New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the United States Congress and served as the United States Secretary of State under Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore. He was also a prominent attorney, especially during the period of the Marshall Court. Throughout his career, he was a member of the Federalist Party, the National Republican Party, and the Whig Party.
The Mexican Cession as ordinarily understood (i.e. excluding lands claimed by Texas) amounted to 525,000 square miles (1,400,000 km2), or 14.9% of the total area of the current United States. If the disputed western Texas claims are also included, that amounts to a total of 750,000 square miles (1,900,000 km2). If all of Texas had been seized, since Mexico had not previously acknowledged the loss of any part of Texas, the total area ceded under this treaty comes to 915,000 square miles (2,400,000 km2).
Considering the seizures, including all of Texas, Mexico lost 54% of its pre-1836 territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.For only fifteen years from 1821 (when Mexican independence was secured) and the Texan Revolt in 1836, the Mexican Cession (excluding Texas) formed approximately 42% of the country of Mexico; prior to that, it had been a part of the Spanish colony of New Spain for some three centuries. Beginning in the early seventeenth century, a chain of Roman Catholic missions and settlements extended into the New Mexico region, mostly following the course of the Rio Grande from the El Paso area to Santa Fe.
The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, in the far western part of the state. The 2018 population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 682,669. Its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 840,758.
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.
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Soon after the war started and long before negotiation of the new Mexico–United States border, the question of slavery in the territories to be acquired polarized the Northern and Southern United States in the bitterest sectional conflict up to this time, which lasted for a deadlock of four years during which the Second Party System broke up, Mormon pioneers settled Utah, the California Gold Rush settled California, and New Mexico under a federal military U.S government turned back Texas's attempt to assert control over territory Texas claimed as far west as the Rio Grande. Eventually the Compromise of 1850 preserved the Union, but only for another decade. Proposals included:
It quickly became apparent that the Mexican Cession did not include a feasible route for a transcontinental railroad connecting to a southern port. The topography of the New Mexico Territory included mountains that naturally directed any railroad extending from the southern Pacific coast northward, to Kansas City, St. Louis, or Chicago. Southerners, anxious for the business such a railroad would bring (and hoping to establish a slave-state beachhead on the Pacific coast), agitated for the acquisition of railroad-friendly land at the expense of Mexico, thus bringing about the Gadsden Purchase of 1853.
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850 that defused a political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired in the Mexican–American War. It also set Texas's western and northern borders and included provisions addressing fugitive slaves and the slave trade. The compromise was brokered by Whig Senator Henry Clay and Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas with the support of President Millard Fillmore.
The Wilmot Proviso was an unsuccessful 1846 proposal in the United States Congress to ban slavery in territory acquired from Mexico in the Mexican–American War. The conflict over the Wilmot Proviso was one of the major events leading to the American Civil War.
The Gadsden Purchase, known in Mexico as Spanish: Venta de La Mesilla, is a 29,670-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that the United States acquired from Mexico by the Treaty of Mesilla, which took effect on June 8, 1854. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande which the U.S. needed to build a transcontinental railroad along a deep southern route, which the Southern Pacific Railroad later completed in 1881–1883. The purchase also aimed to resolve other border issues.
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Purchase Treaty, or the Florida Treaty, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that ceded Florida to the U.S. and defined the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain. It settled a standing border dispute between the two countries and was considered a triumph of American diplomacy. It came in the midst of increasing tensions related to Spain's territorial boundaries in North America against the United States and Great Britain in the aftermath of the American Revolution; it also came during the Latin American wars of independence.
James Gadsden was an American diplomat, soldier and businessman for whom is named the Gadsden Purchase, land which the United States bought from Mexico and which became the southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico. James Gadsden served as Adjutant General of the U. S. Army from August 13, 1821 – March 22, 1822. Between 1853 and 1856, he served as U. S. Minister to Mexico. He was known commonly as General Gadsden, although he never had a rank above Colonel.
The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.
The Territory of Wyoming was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 25, 1868, until July 10, 1890, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Wyoming. Cheyenne was the territorial capital. The boundaries of the Wyoming Territory were identical to the modern State of Wyoming.
The Territory of Colorado was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado.
David Wilmot was a United States Representative and a United States Senator from Pennsylvania and a Judge of the Court of Claims. He was the prime sponsor and namesake of the Wilmot Proviso, a failed proposal to ban the expansion of slavery to western lands gained in the Mexican Cession. Wilmot was instrumental in establishing the Republican Party in Pennsylvania.
The state cessions are those areas of the United States that the separate states ceded to the federal government in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The cession of these lands, which for the most part lay between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, was key to establishing a harmonious union among the former British colonies.
The International Boundary and Water Commission is an international body created by the United States and Mexico in 1889 to apply the rules for determining the location of their international boundary when meandering rivers transferred tracts of land from one bank to the other, as established under the Convention of November 12, 1884.
The Clayton Compromise was a plan drawn up in 1848 by a bipartisan United States Senate committee headed by John M. Clayton for organizing the Oregon Territory and the Southwest. Clayton first attempted to form a special committee of eight members, equal divided by region and party, two northern and two southern men from each of the two great parties, with Clayton of Delaware as chairman, was elected to consider the questions relating to the extension of slavery. It recognized the validity of Oregon's existing antislavery laws, prohibited the territorial legislatures of New Mexico and California from acting on slavery, and provided for appeal of all slavery cases from the territorial courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. It passed the Senate July 27, 1848, but it was tabled in the United States House of Representatives by a coalition of Southern Whigs led by future Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens. Stephens believed that the compromise would completely surrender southern rights in the territories, as he was certain that the Supreme Court would rule against slavery in the territories.
The presidency of Millard Fillmore began on July 9, 1850, when Millard Fillmore became President of the United States upon the death of Zachary Taylor, and ended on March 4, 1853. Fillmore had been Vice President of the United States for 1 year, 4 months when he became the 13th United States president. Fillmore was the second president to succeed to the office without being elected to it, after John Tyler, as well as the last Whig president. Fillmore was succeeded by Democrat Franklin Pierce.
The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked U.S. forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.
The following chronology traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Colorado.
The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of New Mexico.
In 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States of America, becoming the 28th U.S. state. Border disputes between the new state and Mexico, which had never recognized Texas independence and still considered the area a renegade Mexican state, led to the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). When the war concluded, Mexico relinquished its claim on Texas, as well as other regions in what is now the southwestern United States. Texas' annexation as a state that tolerated slavery had caused tension in the United States among slave states and those that did not allow slavery. The tension was partially defused with the Compromise of 1850, in which Texas ceded some of its territory to the federal government to become non-slave-owning areas but gained El Paso
Article V of the TREATY OF PEACE, FRIENDSHIP, LIMITS, AND SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES CONCLUDED AT GUADALUPE HIDALGO declared that the new boundary between the two republics of the United States and Mexico would lay "three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or Opposite the mouth of its deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly into the sea; from thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence, westwardly, along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico to its western termination; thence, northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila; ; thence down the middle of the said branch and of the said river, until it empties into the Rio Colorado; thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean. " It delineated the boundary through its text but wasn't written with much knowledge of the area's actually geography; A commissioner and surveyor from each country were appointed to precisely locate landmarks and accurately map the new border, relying on the treaty as their guide.