This magnificent map is one of the rarest and most sought after early Land Survey maps of California. Dates to 1854. Formally titled: 'Map of the Public Surveys in California to accompany the Report of the Surveyor General 1854.' Prepared by P.S. Duval & Company Steam Lithograph Press of Philadelphia, PA. Includes a wealth of detail indicating the extant of what we knew about Californian geography at the time. Notes the massive Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake in North America, practically a sea, which has since been drained for irrigation purposes.
The General Land Office (1812 - 1946) was an independent agency charged with the administration and sale of public lands of the western territories of the United States under the Preemption Act of 1841 and the Homestead Act of 1862. During a time of frenetic energy and rapid westward expansion, the Land Office oversaw the surveying, platting, mapping and eventually the sale of much of the Western United States and Florida. The structural layout of the western United States that we see today, and many of their district and county divisions, are direct result of the early surveying work of the General Land Office. More importantly, as a branch of the Federal Government in Washington D.C. and the only agency able to legally sell and administer public lands in the western territories of the United States, the General Land Office played a pivotal role in consolidating power away from the original states and into the hands of the centralized federal government. The General Land Office was absorbed into the Department of Interior in 1849 and in 1946 merged with the United States Grazing Service to become the Bureau of Land Management. Today the Bureau of Land Management administers the roughly 246 million acres of public land remaining under federal ownership.
Generally fine condition with light discoloration on the original folds and some minor reinforcement in these same areas.