Seno Mejicano. Carta de la Costa Occidental de la Florida y Parte de La Isla de Cuba segun los trabajos mas modernos nacionales y estrangeros.
1866 (dated) 39.35 x 25.75 in (99.949 x 65.405 cm)
1 : 900000
A scarce 1866 working Spanish nautical chart or maritime map detailing the western part of Florida and northern Cuba. The map covers peninsular Florida from Saint Augustine and Apalache Bay, south to include the Florida Keys and parts of northern Cuba. It exhibits advanced detail in the vicinity of Tampa Bay as well as a fascinating treatment of southwestern Florida as a complex archipelago called Las Mil Islas. The focus of the map is more on the Gulf Side of Florida than the Atlantic side, which is largely cut off. Nonetheless, the chart resumes in the vicinity of the Miami River and includes all of the Florida Keys, most labeled with Spanish names.
This chart appears to have been owned by Pio Riberas y Ponès from Februardy of 1881. We have been unable to identify Riberas y Ponès in any known literature, but based upon the chart he seems to have frequented the waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys where navigational markings in pencil are most extensive.
The chart was first issued by the Dirección de Hidrografía in 1862, one year after Florida joined the Confederacy and the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). We find it curious that the first edition of the chart, 1862, was issued one year after the start of the war, and the present, second edition, was issued one year after the end of the war. Possibly the chart makers intended to capitalize on new information and surveys produced as part of the war effort. The chart was drawn by T. Bryant and engraved by Manuel Rodriguez and F. Bregante.
The Direccion Hidrografía (1787 - 1927), which was also known as the Deposito Hydrografito and the Direction de Hidrografía over the course of its existence, was the Spanish equivalent of the British Admiralty or the U.S. Coast Survey. This organization, founded in 1787, was commissioned to produce accurate nautical charts of all waters frequented by Spanish vessels. In essence, it replaced the Casa de Contratción, which closed its doors in 1790. Like most such organizations, the Direccion Hidrografía marked a new age in cartography. Rather than compile charts created by navigators, explorers, and merchants, the Direccion Hidrografía worked closely with naval and military personnel to actually visit the sites directly in pursuit of the most accurate hydrographical, astronomical, and geodetic measurements. The Direccion Hidrografía created a massive library of nautical charts that, though not nearly as common as similar nautical charts by the U.S. Coast Survey and British Admiralty, are highly desirable for the beauty of their manufacture as well as their accuracy and detail. The office was originally located on Calle Ballesta, but relocated to 36 Alcala, both in Madrid. After 1908 the Dirección was subsumed into other governmental agencies. In 1927 the Direccion was absorbed into the Institute and Observatory of San Fernando, located in Cadiz. The library of original maps, charts, and journals was transferred to the Naval Museum of Madrid - where it resides to this day.
Tomás Bryant y Galiano (fl. c. 1858 – 1879) was a Spanish navigator, sea captain, and chart maker active in the second half of the 19th century. Little is known of Bryant's life, but he appears to have been the grandson of a prominent Spanish shipbuilder Eduardo Bryant and son of Tomás Bryant y Smith (1748 – 18??). Bryant is best known for his charts of Spanish-American waters in the Caribbean and South America published by the Dirección de Hidrografía.
Manuel Rodriguez (fl. c. 1857 – 1880) was a Spanish artist and line engraver active in Madrid in the middle to late 19th century. Rodriguez studied at the Academia de San Fernando and practiced drawing in his spare time. His drawing of a Biblical scene, Jerome in the desert, was recognized with a bronze medal by La Sociedad Económica Matritense. In 1857, he enrolled in the school of topographical engraving run by the Dirección de Hidrografía. Upon graduation he became an engraver for that organization, producing numerous nautical charts.
Very good. Some minor creasing and a few pencil marks related to navigation. Backed on original old linen.