American tourism in Mexico increased significantly during the Good Neighbor era. By creating tourist maps, cartographers on both sides of the border participated in an intentional, ideological process of reshaping these tourists’ views of Mexico. They sought to transform Americans’ perceptions not only of Mexicans and their history but also of the physical environment. Their Mexico was a place of contrast, suspended in the romantic past and engaged in modernity. Although cartographers constructed a new Mexico through their maps, they did not challenge perceptions of an asymmetrical power dynamic that had defined U.S.-Mexico relations and the tourism industry at large. Instead, their maps reinforced, reproduced, and contributed to it. Cartographers, like the maps they created, were not passive or inconsequential actors. Analyzing the ideas, relationships, and myths embedded in their maps expands our understanding of transnational tourism, environmental change, selective history, and imagined communities in the twentieth century.

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