Rare early plan of Panama City, published in Madrid by Tomas Lopez.
Rare Spanish plan of Panama City, including some parts of the city outside the fortifications.
Hachuring is used to indicate contours and types of cultivation. The compass indicator shows magnetic variation, beside the title.
Includes a 13-line topographical and historical note beneath, and orientation to north and magnetic north. In upper right corner is a key to 34 features so numbered on the plan, plus a note on tides.
At lower left, below the neat line: "Se hallará con todas las obras del autor y las de su hijo, en Madrid, en la calle de Atocha frente la casa de los Gremios. Manzana 159 Numero 3."
Panama City was founded on August 15, 1519, by Pedro Arias de Ávila. Within a few years of its founding, the city became a launching point for the exploration and conquest of Peru and a transit point for gold and silver headed back to Spain through the Isthmus.
In 1671, Henry Morgan, with a band of 1400 men attacked and looted the city, which was subsequently destroyed by fire. The ruins of the old city still remain and are a popular tourist attraction known as Panamá la Vieja (Old Panama). It was rebuilt in 1673 in a new location approximately 5 miles southwest of the original city. This location is now known as the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) of the city.
One year before the start of the California Gold Rush, the Panama Railroad Company was formed, but the railroad did not begin operation until 1855. Between 1848 and 1869, the year the first transcontinental railroad was completed in the United States, about 375,000 persons crossed the isthmus from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 225,000 in the opposite direction. That traffic greatly increased the prosperity of the city during that period.
Tomás López de Vargas Machuca (1730-1802) was one of Spain’s most prominent cartographers in the eighteenth century. He was born in Toledo but studied at the Colegio Imperial in Madrid, where he focused on mathematics, grammar, and rhetoric. Along with a small group of colleagues, in 1752 the Spanish government sent López for training in Paris with the renowned geographer Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville. When he returned to Spain he was named Geógrafo de los dominios de Su Magestad and put in charge of the geographic collections of Charles III. He published many maps, including his fascinating maps of the Americas, and a variety of geography manuals. Some of his most famous maps are of the Iberian Peninsula, part of his large project to create a majestic atlas of Spain. Unfinished in his lifetime, López's children published the Atlas Geográfico de España (Geographical Atlas of Spain) in 1804. It was republished in 1810 and 1830.