Visit La Paz, Fly Trans Mar de Cortes, The Routes of the Missionaries.
30.5 x 21.5 in (77.47 x 54.61 cm)
This is a beautiful c. 1950 advertisement for Trans Mar de Cortes Airlines, which catered to tourists from the United States looking to visit Baja California. It promotes the attractions of the peninsula, especially the city of La Paz, and repeats the airline's slogan that passengers will follow 'the routes of the missionaries.'
A Closer LookNot to be confused with the city of the same name in Bolivia, the La Paz referred to here is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Despite the title, the map indicates several cities aside from La Paz, including Loreto, Santa Rosalía, San José del Cabo, and Cabo San Lucas. The map includes examples of the local flora and fauna, while fish and a water-skier fill the waters around the peninsula. Surrounding the map are various colorful depictions of flowers, palm trees, local produce and shellfish, and a scuba diver.
Trans Mar de Cortes AirlinesTrans Mar de Cortes was founded in 1947 and began operations in 1948, capitalizing on the rapidly growing population of the southwestern U.S. and especially Southern California. The aesthetics of this lithograph and the company's slogan tap into Californians' 20th century fascination with their state's Spanish colonial roots. In 1960, the airline was incorporated into Aeronaves de Mexico (Aeroméxico).
Baja CaliforniaThe first Spanish attempt to establish a colony on the Baja Peninsula was led by Hernan Cortes himself. However, this attempt failed due to a lack of food and general remoteness. After a failed attempt in 1683, a Jesuit mission was established in 1697, the first of many.
Further exploration and expansion northwards by missionaries (Jesuits then Franciscans) and military expeditions enlarged the borders of the Provincia de las Californias to the point that it was split in 1804 into Alta and Baja California. Soon afterwards, Mexican independence divested the missions of their predominance and changed the Californias into territories.
In 1853, an American freebooter named William Walker tried to establish a 'Republic of Baja California and Sonora,' looking to emulate the success of Texas, but elicited little interest from either the U.S. or Mexican governments and the effort quickly fizzled out.
In the late 19th and 20th century, many expatriates were drawn to the peninsula for its natural beauty, affordability, and economic opportunities (some 100,000 Arabic-speakers from the Ottoman Empire settled in Mexico around the turn of the century). As the population of the U.S. state of California increased, especially in the post-World War II period, Baja California came to be seen as an easy, nearby option for vacationers. Thus, for much of its modern history, the region's economy has relied on tourism as one of its main industries.
Publication History and CensusThis lithograph was drawn by an artist surnamed Lizarraga and was produced for the airline Trans Mar de Cortes around the year 1950. No other information about it is available. It is not known to exist in any institutional collection nor have any history on the market.