Fine example of Rodriguez's rare map of the North Pacific, showing a fine early rendition of the Sea of the West, which appeared in Miguel Venegas' Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente .. Tomo primero, published in Madrid in 1764.
Rodriguez's map is shown on a north polar projection of North America and northern Asia, showing the routes of eight voyages of discovery, including Vitus Bering's search for the Northwest Passage.
Rodriguez's map, which was not authorized by Vengas' editor, Andres Marcos Burriel (who opposed the map based upon its inaccuracy), is based upon the Philippe Buache / Joseph Nicolas De L'Isle map presented by De L'Isle on April 8, 1750, at the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris, shortly after De L'Isle's return from the Royal Academie at St. Petersburg. It caused an immediate sensation. The map showed the results of Vitus Bering's two voyages for Russia along the Aleutian islands and the apocryphal discoveries of the fictitious Spanish Admiral Bartholomé de Fonte. Fonte was alleged to have discovered the Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via a series of lakes and rivers. A number of these waterways are shown on this map.
In fact, Burriel was correct in not wanting to publish this map, as it was in fact highly inaccurate, as was demonstrated in 1754 by the map of Gerhard Friedrich Muller. First published in 1754, Muller's map was the official Russian response to Joseph Nicolas De L'Isle's surreptitious publication of his map of the same region. The Russians believed that De L'Isle had improperly used the information he had gathered while serving in St. Petersburg at the Royal Academy. Moreover, they were aware of his incorrect delineation of the Northwest Coast of America. Thus they encouraged Muller, a German cartographer working in St. Petersburg, to issue a map to correct De L'Isle's mistakes, as the official mapping from the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg.
Venegas, a prominent Mexican Jesuit, finished the manuscript of this book in 1739, but it was extensively revised by Andrés Marcos Burriel. The book is considered the first history of California.