Strange Maps

264 - An Absolut Mexico

Ay caramba! Absolut Vodka has found a surefire way to put its US sales figures in a downward spiral. This map, used in a Mexican ad campaign, shows what the US-Mexican border would look like in an ‘absolut’ (i.e. perfect) world: a large part of the US’s west is annexed to Mexico.

Needless to say this map made its way to ‘El Norte’, annoying and upsetting many Americans – even leading to calls for a boycott of the Swedish-made vodka. What must be particularly annoying is that this map has some basis in fact.

Large swathes of the western US used to be part of Mexico. In 1836, American settlers proclaimed the independence of Texas, formally a Mexican territory. The US annexation of Texas in 1845 prompted the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), after which Mexico was forced to cede 525,000 square miles of territory (42% of its pre-war territory, 12% of the US’s current territory).

Mexico didn’t have much choice: a US army occupied Mexico City, and the alternative was total annexation. The Mexican Cession consisted of the territories of Alta California and Nueva Mexico, out of which were eventually formed the US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In this ‘absolut’ version of the world, the US and Mexico are about the same size. As gratifiying as it might be for Mexicans to see the loss of Texas and the Mexican Cession be reversed, this map managed to offend so many Americans that it prompted Absolut Vodka to release a statement:

“We are sorry if we offended anyone. This was not our intention. We will try to explain. Though you may not agree, I hope you understand.”
“We have a variety of executions running in countries worldwide, and each is germane to that country and that population. This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal.”
“Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the US — that ad might have been very different.”

This map was sent in by Jeremy Yingling, Danny Dorfman, Nate Maas, Jim Yu, Nick Collecchi and Dubi Kaufmann. Here‘s a link to it at the LA Times

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