United States and Mexican Boundary Survey (1848-1855)

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The U.S. government commissioned the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey in order to map and mark the new boundary that resulted from the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The government also commissioned several naturalists to gather plant and animal specimens in order to understand the natural resources of the area. Natural history collections were made in the fields of paleontology, botany, ichthyology, ornithology, and mammalogy. The Mexican Boundary Survey was the most comprehensive vegetative investigation ever conducted on the 1,969 mile border between Mexico and the United States. Participants included: Edgar Alexander Mearns, Caleb Burwell, Rowan Kennerly, Edmund Kirby-Smith, William H. Emory, Charles Christopher Parry, Charles Wright, George Thurber, Arthur Schott, and John Bigelow, among others.


  • Chester, Tom. "Plants of Southern California: Pilostyles." Table of Contents for all of Tom Chester's webpages. http://tchester.org/plants/ analysis/pilostyles/index.html.
  • Beidleman, Richard G. California’s Frontier Naturalists. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006.
  • Shaw, Elizabeth A. Charles Wright on the Boundary 1849-1852. Westport, CT: Meckler Publishing Corporation, 1987.

Date Range

1848 - 1855


  • Biology
  • Mammalogy
  • Plants
  • Botany


  • United States
  • Mexico


Expedition name