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A Proposal for Vauban Style Fortifications In Guadalajara, Mexico

Fine early plan of the town and proposed fortifications of Guadalajara, Mexico, drawn by Watenwyll, who appears to be a trained engineer of Swiss or Austrian descent who was familiar with the work of Vauban.

The map is oriented with southeast at the top and illustrates an elaborate set of European style fortifications in the style of Sebastian Le Prestre de Vauban, the Marquis of Vauban (1622-1707). Vauban's skills for designing fortifications became the dominant model of siege craft and fortification in the late seventeenth century and continued to influence fortress architecture well into the eighteenth century.

The plan shows the interior of the town, including the Grande Place (Plaza Mayor), St. Salvador Church, Pavilion, Government House, street names and military points of interest. Beyond the inner walls are additional fortifications and the Porte de Michoacan, another fort, the Port de Culiacan, a canal and the Port de Tamacan (Tehuacán?).

The detail of the fortifications of the city is quite remarkable. The map was apparently drawn by a Swiss or Austrian engineer, but we have been unable to determine additional information. It may be a proposed set of European style fortifications for Guadalajara, as the primary details of the town and environs seem to be roughly correct. However, we have found no evidence that the fortifications were ever constructed.

In addition to a suggestion of fortifications, the plan also shows a projected water management strategy for the parched city. Guadalajara, now the largest city and capital of the state of Jalisco, has been plagued by a lack of water for much of its history. The initial settlement, at Mesa del Cerro in 1532, was abandoned due to water issues. In the 1730s, just after this plan was drawn, Father Pedro Antonio Buzeta reviewed the city's situation and recommended a subterranean stream to be constructed. Watenwyll suggests that the fortifications could protect a canal system within the main fort's walls and a surplus puddle (flaque). Today, Guadalajara again faces a water crisis and more imaginative solutions like this one are again being put forward.

Condition Description
Pen and ink drawing. Minor repairs. Chip in lower margin affecting border and paper loss to lower right corner, outside border.
Vera S. Candiani. “Bourbons and Water.” In Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader, edited by Jordana Dym and Karl Offen, 70-3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.