1883 Julius Popper Trade Map: New Orleans to Latin America

Mapa de las Lineas de Trasporte Tributariasa a los Intereses Comerciales de Nueva Orleans Preparado para la Bolsa Mercantil Mexicana. Centro y Sur Americana por Julio Popper. - Main View

1883 Julius Popper Trade Map: New Orleans to Latin America


'No city in the United States has a deeper interest in the subject of trade with Mexico, Central and South America than New Orleans.'


Mapa de las Lineas de Trasporte Tributariasa a los Intereses Comerciales de Nueva Orleans Preparado para la Bolsa Mercantil Mexicana. Centro y Sur Americana por Julio Popper.
  1883 (dated)     34 x 24.5 in (86.36 x 62.23 cm)     1 : 5632000


This is an 1883 Julius (Julio) Popper Spanish-language shipping and trade map promoting New Orleans as a center of trade with Latin America. It was almost certainly issued in anticipation of the 1884-85 Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, the first World's Fair held in New Orelans. Although nearly 20 years had passed, New Orleans of 1883 was still recovering from the repercussions of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) and Reconstruction. It was, nonetheless, central to U.S. ambitions for national commercial growth.
New Orleans as a Key to Trade
An 1884 report to the United States Commission on Mexican, Central American, and South American Trade concluded,
No city in the United States has a deeper interest in the subject of trade with Mexico, Central and South America than New Orleans. The geographical position, combining as it does the advantages of unrivaled interior connections, both by railroad and river, and the facilities of one of the best deep water maritime ports on the continent, indicates this city as such a natural point for handling the incoming and outgoing freights of the vast Mississippi Valley. She is already the second port in the United States for exports, or, combining imports and exports, the third in rank. The expansion of J er commerce with Spanish America will benefit, not herself alone, but every State in the great basin drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries. In natural position New Orleans bears the same relation to St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Chicago and other great cities of the valley as Liverpool to Manchester, Birmingham and other manufacturing cities of England, and her commerce should have the same relative proportion to that of New York that Liverpool bears to London. The merchandise required for export consists principally of the products of the fields, forests and manufactories of those districts directly in communication with New Orleans by rail and river, while the rapid expansion of Southern Industries is continually increasing the supplies of such articles from the territory more immediately contiguous to her port.
A Closer Look
Centered on New Orleans, this large color-lithograph embraces from Maine south to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It emphasizes the centrality of New Orleans to Pan-American, Pan-Gulf commerce at the end of the 19th century. An impressive array of known and projected lines of rail and sea routes connect New Orleans to port cities across the Caribbean and Circum-Gulf Coast ,as well as to cities along the eastern seaboard and via the Mississippi Valley. The proposed Panama Canal is also illustrated with anticipation, even though its construction had only begun the year earlier and was already floundering.
Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition
The Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition was a World's Fair held in New Orleans at Audubon Park between December 16, 1884 and May 1885. It was the first world's fair to be held in New Orleans, and was proposed by the National Cotton Planters Association to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the cotton industry in America. The fair was promoted as an opportunity to demonstrate how well cotton manufactures adapted to Reconstruction with new technology and infrastructure. New Orleans backed the exposition in earnest, cleaning up the streets, installing new buildings, and developing the thirty-three-acre campus at Audubon Park, southwest of the French Quarter. When it opened, the exposition's largest building was also the country's largest building, and the Horticultural Hall was the world's largest greenhouse. The exposition was nonetheless poorly managed. Bidding for vendors did not open until September 1884, meaning that many could not get set up in time for the opening events. More embarrassingly, the organizer, Edward Burke, was accused of fraud shortly after the fair closed and fled to Honduras. Despite receiving some 1,000,000 visitors, the fair itself closed deeply in debt. Even so, although failing financially, it succeeded culturally, accelerating urbanization and modernization in New Orleans and inaugurating an era of prolonged growth.
The Popper Connection
The map is in Spanish, suggesting that despite publication in New Orleans, its audience was Spanish America. Popper was, at this time, an itinerant engineer. He was in New Orleans in 1883, when he published this map, but by 1884 was in Cuba, where he worked on the Havana city plan. Later, he moved to Mexico, then Brazil, then Chile (telegraph work), then to Patagonia, where he finally struck it rich mining gold in Tierra de Fuego under his company, Compania de Lavaderos de Oro del Sud. During this time, he was responsible for the genocide of the native Selk'nam peoples of that land. He set himself up as a mini-king, with his own currency, army, and government. He then settled in Buenos Aires, where he grew even wealthier investing in the Argentine economic boom. His past in New Orleans, nonetheless, came back to haunt him, where, according to contemporary American journalist John R. Spears, he was poisoned by 'men whom he had offended in the south.' He died in his apartment at just 35.
Publication History and Census
This map was created by Julio (Julius) Popper, printed by M.F. Dunn of New Orleans, and published by the Mexican, Central American, and South American Commercial Exchange of New Orleans, Louisiana. Extremely rare. This map does not appear in OCLC, but we note an example, in rough condition, at Tulane.


Julius (Julio) Popper (December 15, 1857 - June 5, 1893) was a Romanian-Argentine mechanical engineer, adventurer, and a perpetrator of the Selk'nam genocide. Born in Bucharest he was the son of Neftali Popper, an antique merchant and professor, and Perla (Peppi). Popper left home as early as possible, and went to Paris, where he studied mechanical engineering. After graduating, Popper began his life as an explorer, beginning in Egypt and Turkey, and continuing on through India, China, and Japan, before arriving in the Americas. His exact movements have been lost to history, but we know he arrived in Buenos Aires in 1885, after hearing about the Tierra del Fuego gold rush. After seeing the poor planning that went into the active mining claims, he established his own mining exploration company and struck out to strike it rich. Now known as Julio Popper, his company arrived at San Sebastian Bay in during the second half of 1886 and had mined 154 pounds of gold within the first year. As soon as they arrived, Popper and his men clashed with the native Selk'nam peoples. This led to bloody, uneven battles, and as more settlers arrived (including ranchers), the Selk'nam were even more brutally targeted. Between the hatred of the newcomers and the diseases they brought with them (scarlet fever, smallpox, tuberculosis), the Selk'nam were almost entirely destroyed. Popper didn't stop there. He organized his own private army, and even minted his own coins and issued his own stamps. Incredibly, after the market crash of 1890 destroyed the Argentine peso, Popper's coins were seen as a currency. Popper died suddenly at 35, when he was found poisoned in a Buenos Aires apartment. After his death, his empire collapsed. As an aside, it remains unconfirmed but a rumor persists that Popper designed the modern city of Havana, Cuba. More by this mapmaker...

Michael Fitzgerald Dunn (1842 - March 25, 1913) was a New Orleans Irish-American lithographer and stationer active in the late 19th century. He partnered for a time in the 1879s with Thomas Fitzwilliam from offices at 76 Camp Street, before establishing his own firm, M. F. Dunn and Brothers. They were based at 70 Camp and at 67 Washington Ave, New Orleans. Dunn operated one of the first steam presses in New Orleans. Learn More...


Fair. Wear along original fold lines. Verso repairs to fold separations. Small areas of infill at some fold intersections. Left margin trimmed to neatline.