SCARCE LANDMARK CHART OF THE TEXAS COAST
[SPANISH ADMIRALTY] DEPOSITO HIDROGRAFICO DE MARINA
Carta Particolar de las Costas Setentrionales del Seno Mexicano que comprehende las de la Florida Ocidental las Margenes de la Luisiana y toda la rivera que sigue por la Bahia de S. Bernardo y el Rio Bravo del Norte hasta la Laguna Madre. Construida ye publida de órden superior en las Direccion Hidrographica. Madrid, 1807
23” x 36". Uncolored copper engraving. A fine example.
This is a very scarce landmark chart for America. It shows the Texas coast on a larger scale than any previously published map or chart, and with the most sophisticated geography then available.
The Carta Particolar shows all of the present-day United States Gulf Coast from Pensacola west to the Rio Grande. Carta Particolar and its companion, Carta Esferica, 1799 (a general chart of the entire Gulf of Mexico) represent the first appearance, in cartographical form, of the results of the 1783-1785 survey of Jose de Evia for Bernardo de Galvez, Viceroy of New Spain.
This was the first scientific Spanish survey of the Gulf of Mexico, which was then considered a Spanish lake. The centerpiece of Evia's reconaissance was the discovery of Galveston Bay, which the navigator named in honor of his patron. Evia's manuscripts languished in Madrid until the establishment of the Spanish Admiralty's cartographical publishing office, the Deposito Hidrografico, in 1797. That agency recognized the importance of Evia's survey, and published the general Carta Esferica in 1799, and the more specific Carta Particolar in 1807.
These charts were among the earliest published by the Spanish Admiralty, and were a tremendous improvement over all previous representations of the United States Gulf Coast. Martin & Martin note that they "represented an important advance in geographical knowledge and remained for many years the prototype for maps of the Gulf." For his great Map of New Spain (1809) Alexander von Humboldt wrote: "I have followed... the map of the gulph of Mexico, published by order of the King of Spain in 1799, and retouched in 1803 [2nd issue]." The influence of the two Spanish charts can also be seen on Arrowsmith’s New Map of Mexico (1810), and the maps of Zebulon Pike (1811) and John Melish (1816).
Streeter, who described these charts as a "real advance", identified just one issue of the Carta Particolar. It is much rarer than the Carta Esferica, which appeared in four issues. Streeter locates only four copies: Library of Congress, Newberry Library, British Library, and his own (now at Yale University).
Martin and Martin, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, plate 22B; Streeter, Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845, #1041.
Inventory No. 7289