Melish Map

By: Francis Caldwell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

John Melish (1771–1822), a Scottish merchant, traveler, author, and cartographer, drew a map of the United States to accompany his book A Geographical Description of the World, Intended as an Accompaniment to the Map of the World on Mercator's Projection (1818). The map is significant to Texas history because the 100th meridian, as shown on the map, was specified in the Adams-Onís Treaty as part of the boundary between the United States and New Spain. The map continued to be recognized as the final authority on the Texas boundary during the period of the republic, and, although errors were found in the location of the meridian on the map, the map was recognized as a boundary authority until after the Compromise of 1850.

Philip Coolidge Brooks, Diplomacy and the Borderland: The Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1939). Thomas Maitland Marshall, A History of the Western Boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, 1819–1841 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1914; rpt., New York: Da Capo Press, 1970).
  • Exploration
  • Boundaries and Cartography
  • Peoples
  • Scots
  • Surveyors and Cartographers
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Francis Caldwell, “Melish Map,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: