Fine large format map of the Florida Keys, centered on Key West and with a large inset of the western end of Key West, published in Madrid by the Spanish Hydrographical Office.
The map is based on a survey by the United States Coast Survey, undertaken in 1849. An inset details the western end of the island, showing Fort Zachary Taylor. The lighthouses are
marked in color.
The map shows hundreds of soundings, as well as sailing directions for approaches to Key West.
The chart is very rare. This is the second example we have seen on the market in more than 20 years.
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.