One of the Rarest Maps of Cartagena
Rare plan of Cartagena and environs, engraved by Bayly and published in Speer's The West-India Pilot, sold by Samuel Hooper.
The map includes a detailed key locating approximately 23 points of interest, including numerous forts, a monastery and batteries.
The map is one of the most detailed 18th Century maps of the harbor and one of the rarest.
The map depicts Cartagena during its so called Silver Age, after Admiral Vernon's Siege of Cartagena in 1741, in command of a large British and American force. This time was one of permanent expansion of the existing buildings in Cartagena, massive immigration from all the other cities of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada, increase of the economic and political power of Cartagena and a population growth spurt not equaled since that time.
Political power that was already shifting from Bogotá to the coast completed its relocation, and the Viceroys decided to reside in Cartagena permanently. The inhabitants of the city were the richest of the colony, the aristocracy erected noble houses on their lands to form great estates, libraries and printing establishments were opened, and the first café in New Granada was even established. The good times of steady progress and advancement in the second half of the 18th century came to an abrupt end in 1808, with the general crisis of the Spanish Empire that came from the Mutiny of Aranjuez and all its consequences.
Speer's West India Pilot was first published in 1766 with 13 charts. It was reissued in 1771 with 26 charts and again in 1774 with 27 charts. All editions are rare on the market.
The full title of Speer's Pilot is:
The West-India pilot: containing piloting directions for Port Royal and Kingston harbours in Jamaica, in and out through the kays, &c. ... the true courses and distances through the windward passages ... courses, distances, and anchoring places from Jamaica to the Gulf of Florida ... : the whole illustrated with a number of maps and plans engraved by the best artists, describing the ports and bays above mentioned with the true soundings, laid down with the utmost exactness.