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The First Spanish, Navigational Atlas of the Gulf & Caribbean

Atlas. DIRECCION DE TRABAJOS HIDROGRAFICOS [Madrid, 1818]
Portulano De La America Setentrional…. Oblong quarto
Quarter modern red morocco & marbled paper over boards, title & device stamped in gold on spine. 121 charts. Very faint foxing on a few leaves, else an excellent, crisp copy.

   $28,500


A superb example of "the first comprehensive Spanish printed portulano (nautical atlas) devoted to Gulf and the Caribbean" (Taliaferro). It was not until the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century that Spain liberalized its previously restrictive policy regarding the commercial publication of cartographic materials.
Published by the Spanish Admiralty, the atlas consists of charts of the major ports along the entire Gulf Coast including the southern part of the United States, Mexico, Central and northern South America. The chief Spanish ports in the Caribbean are also included. The southern United States ports in the atlas are Tampa Bay, Pensacola, St. Augustine, Mobile, Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay (here "Bahia De S. Bernardo"), Amelia and Cumberland islands, the south portion of Amelia Island and area, and Fort George Island near Jacksonville.
The atlas contains "the first printed map devoted specifically to Galveston Bay" (Taliaferro). It was based on the 1783-1786 survey by Jose de Evia. Evia’s expedition was the first attempt at a scientific survey of the Gulf of Mexico, and has been called the “only historically notable event relating to Galveston Island of the eighteenth century” (Hayes in Taliaferro).
The atlas is divided into four sections: the first covering the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and several of the Lesser Antilles; the second treats the southern United States, Mexico and Central America; the third focuses on Cuba; and the fourth covers Santo Domingo and Jamaica. This is the expanded second edition, the first having been published in 1809 with ten fewer charts.


Phillips 1224; Taliaferro, H. Cartographic Sources, no. 200, 201;

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