Rare first state of the edition of this rare spanish sea chart of the coastline of the eastern part of Colombia, the Gulf of Venezuela and Aruba.
The present chart represents the most modern and up to date Spanish survey of the region, undertaken by Brigadier Joaquin Franciso Fidalgo, at the end of the 18th Century, on the eve of Independence for Colombia and Venezuela.
Extending west to the Rio Grande de la Magdalena, the chart also includes a large inset map showing the river from its source near Magangue to the sea.
The chart is drawn from the hydrographical expeditions of Churruca and Fidalgo. Joaquin Francisco Fidalgo was an important Spanish Naval Officer and Hydrographer. Fidalgo was promoted to commander in 1791, and from 1792 captained one of two divisions of brigs, along with Cosme Damian Churruca, which charted the coast of North America in order to create the first Spanish hydrographical atlas of the coastlines of North America, designed to promote and improved Spanish trade and commerce with the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Mainland, and the Antilles. After 1794, Fidalgo continued his work between Panama and Guajira, Venezuala,
Fidalgo later co-founded a nautical school in Cartagena de Indias . Fidalgo returned to Spain in 1810, at which time he became the commander of the Hydrographic Office.
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.