1861 Vandermaelen / du Graty Map of Paraguay

Carte de la République du Paraguay, Dressée Par le Colonel Alfred M. du Graty. - Main View

1861 Vandermaelen / du Graty Map of Paraguay


A rare, detailed map of the Republic of Paraguay.


Carte de la République du Paraguay, Dressée Par le Colonel Alfred M. du Graty.
  1861 (dated)     26 x 20 in (66.04 x 50.8 cm)     1 : 1570000


This richly detailed and scarce map of the Republic of Paraguay was executed by the Brussels firm of Philippe Vandermaelen in 1861. The map was built upon the groundbreaking 1809 work by Spanish military engineer Félix de Azara, but to it was added data from more contemporaneous sources: the reports of the riverine exploration of the United States Navy, and the travels of the Belgian noble and military adventurer Baron Alfred Louis Hubert Ghislain Marbais du Graty. The map is thus quite different from the maps produced by Vandermaelen for his 1825 atlas.
Surveys and Gunboat Diplomacy
One source credited in the map is the USN Water Witch. This U.S. Navy gunboat's 1855 cruise would not have shed much light on this region, because its progress was arrested at the mouth of the Paraná, having come under fire by Paraguayan forces at Fort Itaipu. The engagement resulted in the death of helmsman Samuel Chaney, the curtailment of the surveying mission on the Paraná, and an international falling-out between Paraguay and the United States which would not be resolved until the return in 1858 of Water Witch to Paraguay, this time in company with a full squadron successfully tasked to exact an apology and an indemnity from Paraguay over the 1855 incident.
The Belgian Military Adventurer
The map also credits the efforts of Baron Alfred Marbais du Graty, who had fought in the service of Argentinian General Justo José de Urquiza during the 1851 'Platine War' and would remain in Argentina as part of the Urquiza government until 1861 or early 1862. Du Graty's military service took him along the Paraná River, and his specialty as a naturalist - Paraguay's meliponiculture - developed further his familiarity with the Republic. Following the decline of the Argentine Urquiza presidency, du Graty would return to Belgium to serve as Paraguay's Charge d'Affaires. It was during his tenure as a diplomat on behalf of the Republic that he wrote the book for which this map was intended.
Conflicting Territorial Claims
The borders of Paraguay and her neighbors were subject to overlapping claims between that country, Bolivia, and the Argentine Confederation. These claims would be central both to treaties and to wars fought between the neighboring countries. A July 19, 1852, treaty between the Argentine Confederation and Paraguay (following the 1851-2 Platine War) was written to dispose of two areas: the Misiones region (southeast of the Paraná River), assigned to Argentina, and the area west of the Paraguay River, assigned to Paraguay. Both these areas are marked on the map. There is an explanation that the Misiones, despite belonging to Argentina by the treaty, was administered and claimed by Paraguay, Argentina having refused to ratify the treaty. Pencil notation between the Rio Vermejo and the Rio Pilcomayo, identifies that area - known as Formosa - as 'Argentine.' The claims to these territories would remain sticking points in the relations of the nations of the La Plata region, but not so much as did the rights for travel on the rivers - over which Paraguay jealously exercised control.
Publication History and Census
The map was printed by Vandermaelen for inclusion in du Graty's 1862La République du Paraguay. While the volume is well represented in institutional collections, the map is not always present. We find only one example of the separate map cataloged in the Bibliothèque National de France.


Philippe Marie Guillaume Vandermaelen (December 23, 1795 - May 29, 1869) was a Flemish cartographer active in Brussels during the first part of the 19th century. Vandermaelen is created with "one of the most remarkable developments of private enterprise in cartography," namely his remarkable six volume Atlas Universel de Geographie. Vandermaelen was born in Brussels in 1795 and trained as a globe maker. It was no doubt his training as a globe maker that led him see the need for an atlas rendered on a universal scale in order that all bodies could be understood in relation to one another. In addition to his great work Vandermaelen also produced a number of globes, lesser maps, a highly detailed 250 sheet map of Belgium, and several regional atlases. Learn More...

Alfred Marbais du Graty (December 5, 1823 - March 20, 1891) was a Belgian naturalist, geographer and historian. He was born to the aristocracy in Belgium, and was educated in Brussels at military school, thereafter beginning a military career. He was assigned as an attaché to the Belgian delegation to Rio de Janeiro in 1850. In 1851 following year he served as an artillery sergeant major to General Justo José de Urquiza, fighting against the Caudillo Juan Manuel de Rosas. Urquiza enlisted him into the Entre Ríos army, a san artillery sergeant major. De Rosas had been leading an expansionist movement, which was then countered by Brazil's support of Uruguay in its struggle against Argentina; Du Graty's support of De Rosa's enemy Urquiza during this so-called 'Platine War' appears to have been in concert with Brazil's efforts. Du Graty's service took place on the Paraná River, as well as the 1852 Battle of Caseros. His efforts were rewarded: he was two years later numbered among the naturalists and thinkers invited by Urquiza to survey the Argentinian Entre Rios province in 1853; after Urquiza became President, he appointed Du Graty in 1854 to be his aide-de-camp and promoted to Colonel. Du Graty would parlay his military successes to the benefit of science: He created the National Museum in Paraná to which he was appointed director; he worked there until 1857. Thereafter he contracted for the exploitation of mines in Catamarca, northwestern Argentina. He would administer these personally, and would in 1855 promote Argentine mining at the International Exhibition in Paris. He held elected office in the Argentine province of Tucumán from 1856 to 1858. He became an Argentine citizen in 1858. Du Graty began a career in journalism, both as an editor of El Nacional Argentino a governmental organ. At the turn of Urquiza's fortunes in the 1861 battle of Pavón, Du Graty returned to Belgium, where the Paraguayan government would designate him Charge d'Affaires. He wrote several books: the 1858 a Confederación Argentina and the 1861 a República del Paraguay. Before his death, he would go on to serve in Belgium as Undersecretary of State in the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Relations, and would become and was the Founding Director of the National Museum.

A naturalist, du Graty was also forward in Paraguay's meliponiculture, the study of the care and keeping of stingless bees. Learn More...


Marbais du Graty, Alfred La République du Paraguay.(Bruxelles, Muquardt) 1862.    


Good. Archivally backed, with some mends at margins and junctures of folds. Some offsetting, and pencil notation. Original outline color.


Rumsey 122499.022. OCLC 494820530.