Rare Spanish Sea chart of the Atlantic Ocean, showing Spain and parts of Ireland, England, France; island chains of the Azores, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde; the northeast coast of America from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Florida, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Gulf of Mexico, part of Central America and the Equator in South America.
The chart is drawn in the style of a Portolan map. The Province of Texas is noted, as is the Province of West Florida.
This would seem to be the map which in 1825 was copied in connection with a set of maps presented to Guadalupe Victoria, the first President of the Republic of Mexico in 1825.
The chart is of the utmost rarity. We note an example in the Woodbury Lowery collection, but no other examples offered for sale in many decades.
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.