This map plots the settings and references in Blood Meridian
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Bexar was founded around 1830 and named after the mission, San Antonio de Béxar, which was the location of the Battle of the Alamo.
The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas). All but two of the Texian defenders were killed.
Santa Anna's perceived cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution.
Fort Griffin was a Cavalry fort established in the late 1860s in the northern part of West Texas to give settlers protection from Comanche and Kiowa raids.
It was named after Charles Griffin, a Civil War Union general who had commanded the Department of Texas.
The fort was officially opened in 1867. It was the starting point for many expeditions westward, and a substantial community built up around it to serve them.
Chihuahua was founded in 1709, on the intersection of the Chuviscar and Sacramento rivers. It was an important center of Spanish missionary activity.
During the Mexican-American War, Chihuahua fell to U.S. forces in 1847, after the Mexican Army was defeated at the Battle of the Sacramento River, 15 miles north of the city.
Chihuahua is now a significant industrial city, with nearly a million residents.
The town of Janos is named after the Janos people, the indigenous inhabitants of the area. The Janos did not survive contact with the Spanish and are now extinct.
Franciscan missionaries built a mission here in 1640, called Soledad de Janos. The mission was destroyed in indigenous revolts.
Janos is now a town of around 2,700 people.
Nácori Chico is a small town in the east of the Mexican state of Sonora.
In 1886, Mexican Army militia fought Americans and Apaches sixty miles north of the town in an incident known as the Crawford Affair. During the battle, American Captain Emmet Crawford was killed and his death nearly sparked a war between Mexico and the United States.
In the nineteenth century, the area was very marshy, but the river is now usually dry.
The Colorado River forms the border between Arizona and the states of California and Nevada. It flows from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado 1,450 miles to the Gulf of California.
The Hoover Dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 to form Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the USA.
The Fort Presidio of San Diego was established in 1769, along with a Franciscan mission. After Mexico's independence, the fort was abandoned and the town grew up below.
With the end of the Mexican-American war and the great influx of Americans during the gold rush of 1848, California was admitted to the United States in 1850. San Diego was incorporated as a city in 1850.
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the state of Texas.
Named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez, the first European settlements on Galveston Island were constructed around 1816. Mexico established the Port of Galveston in 1825 following its successful revolution from Spain. The city served as the main port for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution and in 1836 Galveston was founded, becoming the capital of the Republic of Texas.
During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial centre and one of the largest ports in the United States.
It became a major slave market during the 19th century, since the cotton economy of the antebellum South depended on the forced labour of large numbers of African-American slaves. At the height of the plantation system in 1850, when cotton had become the dominant cash crop of the South, 1.8 million of the 2.5 million slaves in the United States (nearly 75 percent) were involved in the production of cotton.
St. Louis is a city on the eastern border of Missouri.
Founded in 1764, St. Louis became a major port on the Mississippi River after the Louisiana Purchase. Immigrants from Ireland and Germany arrived in St. Louis in significant numbers starting in the 1840s, and the population of St. Louis grew from less than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to more than 160,000 by 1860.
Its population expanded further after the American Civil War, and by the late 19th century St. Louis had become the fourth-largest city in the United States.
San Antonio de Bexar was the former name of the city of San Antonio, Texas.
Early Spanish settlement of San Antonio began in 1718 with the establishment of the San Antonio de Valero Mission (now the Alamo) and the Presidio San Antonio de Béxar (named after the city in Spain). San Antonio grew to become the largest Spanish settlement in Texas, and for most of its history, the capital of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Tejas.
It played a significant role during the Texas Revolution when Mexican President Santa Anna's army massacred a contingent of Texians who had occupied the city’s Alamo mission. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas and included it as a state in the Union. This led to the Mexican-American War, which had a devastating effect on San Antonio, reducing the population by almost two thirds to only 800 inhabitants. By 1860, though, San Antonio had grown to a city of 15,000 people. Today, it is the seventh-largest city in the U.S. with a population of 1.33 million.
When the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846, American troop strength was too low to even consider fielding a foreign occupation force, necessitating the recruitment of volunteer fighters. Tennessee confirmed its reputation as the ‘Volunteer State’ after the secretary of war’s request for 2,800 Tennesseans to join the ranks was met by 30,000 men eager to enlist.
The Battle of Monterrey (September 21–24, 1846) was a significant battle fought during the Mexican-American War. Under the command of Zachary Taylor, the U.S. army, combined with volunteers from Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, took the city of Monterrey after defeating General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North.
Mesilla is a town in Doña Ana County in the U.S. state of New Mexico.
It was formed in 1848, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shifted the U.S.-Mexico border south of the village of Doña Ana, placing it in the United States. A small group of Mexican citizens, unhappy at being part of the United States, chose to move south of the border, and by 1850, Mesilla was an established colony.
America declared the Mesilla Valley region part of the United States following the establishment of Fort Fillmore in 1851 to protect its citizens north of the border from repeated Apache attacks. The resulting boundary dispute was eventually resolved in 1853, with the Gadsen Purchase, when Mesilla became a part of the United States.
Famous for its markets, cantinas and festivals, it was the most important town of the region up until the 1880s. It quickly declined in importance after the Santa Fe Railway opted to build their railroad through neighbouring Las Cruces in 1881.
Keet Seel, or Kiet Siel (‘broken house’ in Navajo) is a preserved cliff dwelling of the ancient Anasazi people located in the Tsegi Canyon in northeastern Arizona. The site was first occupied at around AD 1250 and abandoned in the early 14th century. At its peak, it is believed that up to 150 people inhabited the site.
The Río Bravo del Norte, or simply Río Bravo, is the Mexican name for the Rio Grande, the 1,896 mile (3,051 km) long river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. A stretch of the river serves as the boundary between the U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.
The Hueco Tanks are a rocky outcropping in the middle of the desert near El Paso. Hueco means hollows in Spanish after the bowl like depressions in the rock which hold small pools of water formed by natural springs.
The city of Los Angeles in California was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States.
Today, Los Angeles is the second most populous city in America.
The Californian city of San Francisco has been struck by a total of seven great fires between 1849 and 1906.
Given the time frame of the novel, it is likely McCarthy is referring to the Great Fires of May 4, 1851 and June 22, 1851. Three-fourths of the city burned to the ground during the first fire, and in both cases the strong coastal winds caused the flames to spread irresistably through the city.
Click here for the Reverend Albert Williams' eyewitness account of the Great Fire of June 22, 1851.
The Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River is an ephemeral, sandy-braided stream heading on the Llano Estacado of West Texas about 18.5 km (11.5 mi) southeast of Tahoka, Texas. It is a tributary of the Brazos River, the longest river in Texas and the 11th longest in the United States.
The name comes from early Spanish explorers who christened the river Rio de los Brazos de Dios (meaning The River of the Arms of God). McCarthy uses the correct 19th century name for the tributary, which changed in 1964 to simply the Double Mountain Fork Brazos River.