“The Indian Territory.” From The United States Magazine and Democratic Review. New York: J. & H.G. Langley, 1844. Lithograph. 4 1/2 x 7 1/4. Very good condition.
A fascinating map focusing on the “Indian Territory” in 1844. From the early nineteenth century, with the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory, the policy of the United States was to get the Indian tribes located east of the Mississippi to exchange their lands there for new territory west of the river. This was initially intended to be done voluntarily, but as time went on coercion was used more and more, especially during the administration of Andrew Jackson, who pushed through the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In order to accommodate these “removed” tribes, the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834 set aside for the Indians “all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas.” This was a vast area, but as the century progressed, Congress continued to whittle down its size until in 1890, the Indian Territory consisted of the eastern half of what later became the state of Oklahoma.
This map shows the Indian Territory in 1844, when it consisted essentially of those lands to the west of Arkansas, Missouri an Iowa and east of the Texas Panhandle. Each tribe’s land is indicated, set into a mapping showing the rivers of the area. Also shown is the Santa Fe Trail and a line marking the “Western habitable Limit,” an indication of the belief that the lands further west, on the high plains, were part of a “Great American Desert.” The map appeared in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, which included a 16 page article (included) on the history of the Indian Territory and its tribes. The editor was very much in favor of the removal of the tribes to this territory and he was quite proud in what he saw as the fact that this process was “highly favorable, to the general condition and prosperity of the removed tribes… Not only have they been placed beyond the wasting influence of causes which oppressed them, within the circle of the State communities; but they have received in exchange for their eastern lands, a territory which, as a whole, is highly fertile and salubrious.”