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1950 Admiralty Nautical Map of Puerto Rico w/ interesting notations

West Indies. Puerto Rico. - Main View

1950 Admiralty Nautical Map of Puerto Rico w/ interesting notations


Features manuscript notations detailing ammunition dumping and military exercises.



West Indies. Puerto Rico.
  1950 (dated)     27.25 x 39.75 in (69.215 x 100.965 cm)     1 : 322770


This is a 1950 British Admiralty nautical chart or maritime map of Puerto Rico featuring manuscript notations detailing military exercises and underwater ammunition dumps. The chart depicts the region from Mona Island to St. Thomas and St. Croix and from 19 degrees north latitude to almost 17 degrees north latitude.
Manuscript Notations - Ammunition Dumps?
The manuscript annotations are by far the most compelling aspect of this chart. Two boxes drawn in red ink, one above Puerto Rico and one below, read 'Dumping Ground (Ammunition)'. After World War II, the U.S., the U.K., and Russia elected to dump unused munitions and chemical weapons into the ocean and some of these events were not well documented. A 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Defense recognized two dumping grounds near Puerto Rico, which may be the two marked on this map. Today, hundreds of thousands of unexploded ordnance sit on the ocean floor and have washed up on shore or injured fishermen that come into contact with them in nets.
Manuscript Notations - Military Exercises
Two manuscript notations in pencil along the top border describe military exercises in the area. One notes a machine gun practice area that would happen daily between 0800 and 1600 (8 A.M. to 4 P.M.) except on Saturday and Sunday. The second, written in both French and English, notes that anti-submarine operations would be held in the area between August 10 and August 18, 1950.
The Chart Itself
A highly detailed chart, myriad depth soundings are present along the coast of Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Passage and the Mona Passage. A paste-down above Puerto Rico notes that the 100-fathom line in farther to the north than charted on the map. Other manuscript notations mark coastal lights and other locations. Points, bays, and other coastal features are noted.
Publication History
This chart was originally engraved in 1904 and republished by the Admiralty in 1927. Numerous subsequent additions and corrections have been made, up through the manuscript additions in 1950.


The British Admiralty Office (1795 - Present) or the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office refers to the Branch of the English government that is responsible for the command of the British Navy. In 1795 King George III created the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, known in short as the U.K.H.O., to provide top notch nautical charts to the vast Royal Navy. Prior the founding of the Admiralty the surveying and creation of nautical charts was primarily a commercial venture wherein the cartographer himself, more of than not, actually financed the printing of his own material. The great navigator Cook himself is known to have scrambled for funds to publish his own seminal charts - the most important and advanced of the period. The system of privately funded nautical mapping and publishing left vast portions of the world uncharted and many excellent charts unpublished. King George III, responding significant loss in trade revenue related to shipwrecks and delay due to poor charts, recognized the need for an institutionalized government sponsored cartographic agency - the Admiralty. The first head of the Admiralty, a position known as Hydrographer, was the important cartographer Alexander Dalrymple. Dalrymple started by organizing and cataloging obtainable charts before initiating the laborious process of updating them and filling in the blanks. The first official Admiralty Chart appeared in 1800 and detailed Quiberon Bay in Brittany. By 1808 the position of Hydrographer fell to Captain Thomas Hurd. Hurd advocated the sale of Admiralty charts to the general public and, by the time he retired in 1829, had issued and published some 736 charts. Stewardship of the organization then passed to Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. It was under Beaufort's administration that the Admiralty truly developed as a "chart making" as opposed to a "chart cataloging" institution. Beaufort held his post from 1829 to 1854. In his 25 years at the Admiralty Beaufort created nearly 1500 new charts and sponsored countless surveying and scientific expeditions - including the 1831 to 1836 voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. By 1855 the Admiralty's chart catalog listed some 1,981 charts. Learn More...


Very good. Even overall toning. A couple of minor wormholes near centerfold. Light wear along original centerfold. Blank on verso.