Spanish chart of the Bay and Harbor of New York, with a second chart extending from Block Island to Egg Harbor, published by Spanish Hydrographical Office.
The New York Harbor chart shows Manhattan island and environs, including soundings, light houses, ship channels and other sailing details. The second chart extending from Block Island and Fisher lsland to Egg Harbor, shwing dozens of lighthouses, soundings, etc.
Spanish Hydrographical charts focusing on American harbors are quite scarce on the market.
The Dirección de Hidrografía, or the Directorate of Hydrographic Works, was established in 1797. Its roots were in the Casa de Contratación, founded in 1503 in Sevilla, which housed all the charts of the Spanish Empire and oversaw the creation and maintenance of the padrón real, the official master chart. The Casa, now in Cadiz, was shuttered in 1790, but Spain still needed a hydrographic body. In response, the Dirección was created in 1797. One of its first projects was the publication of charts from the Malaspina Expedition (1789-1794). The Dirección oversaw not only publication, but also surveying. The Dirección was abolished in the early twentieth century, when their work was distributed to other organizations.