Map of Guatemala: Reduced from the Survey in the Archives of that Country, 1826


On July 1, 1823, a Guatemalan National Constituent Assembly declared that the provinces that made up the Spanish Captaincy General of Guatemala, also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, “are free and independent of old Spain, of Mexico, and of every other power.” The new country was called the United Provinces of Central America. It included the provinces of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. This 1826 map by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1826) thus covers the territory of the entire federation and not just Guatemala. Arrowsmith, who based his map on an old survey in the archives in Guatemala City, was a noted London mapmaker and hydrographer to the king. Arrowsmith’s map later was criticized in the United States and Latin America for appearing to favor Britain in its dispute with Guatemala over the territory that became known as British Honduras (present-day Belize). The United Provinces of Central America disbanded in 1838-40, but its constituent countries retained the borders they had had as part of the federation.

Last updated: September 18, 2015