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Rare map of the City of Havana, published in Havana in 1841, which was prepared for Rafael Rodriguez's unfinished Atlas Cubano.

The map is identified as "Plancha 3a. Parte 1a," published as part of a very are set of 16 or 17 maps and plans of Cuba, entitled Atlas Cubano. Consta de ocho hojas en papel marquilla apaisado, y contienen lo siguiente (1841-42).  As noted by Emilio Cueto (p. 151):

Nineteenth-century Havana witnessed the production of three outstanding mapmakers: the Atlas Cubano containing sixteen or seventeen city maps by Rodriguez ( 1841 -1842), the Havana map by Albear ( 1874), and the monumental geotopographical map of Cuba, in 36 sheets, by Pichardo (1875).

The following is Emilio Cueto's complete entry describing the atlas:

528.  Rodriguez Rodriguez, Rafael Ρίο (Spanish military surveyor, active ca. 1840s-1870s)

Rodriguez published the first Cuban atlas to be printed in Cuba (the Atlas Cubano), being a collection of 16 (?) city maps. Trelles mentions 17 maps, without listing them, and indeed the San Antonio map bears that number, but there are gaps in sequencing, so they do not add up to 17 in my count.  Ads appearing in the Diario de La Habana for 1842 give different numbering altogether and could not confirm the existence of 17 maps  . . . 

Maps measure ca. 19.75 X 15.25" and were lithographed at the Real Sociedad Patriotica in Havana during 1841-1842.1 am unaware of the circumstances surrounding the conception and production of this important work. Copy in Havana National Library.

The atlas remained unfinished. Trelles cites a contemporary source indicating that "El geôgrafo y ayudante del Cuerpo de Artilleria Sr. Rodriguez no Ilegô a completar este Atlas." This is obvious, as there are only two maps east of Trinidad and no maps of Santiago or of the entire island. This might be the result not of purposeful design (the title appears all inclusive), but of lack of resources to complete the project. Such was the fate of an important book of Cuban views by Costa during 1841-1842. Similarly, some of Pichardo's efforts were limited to the western half of Cuba for lack of funds. 


The Atlas Cubano is exceedingly rare.  We note only the copies in the Jose Marti Library in Havana, University of Florida and Harvard University.   

Only a single incomplete copy has appeared at auction (Sothebys, 1988).

Emilo Cueto: Cuban Cartography, 1500-1898. Cuban Studies, Vol 27, 1998.
Rafael Rodriguez Biography

Rodriguez was a Cuban cartographer active between 1840 and 1870. He made maps alongside work as a soldier and surveyor. Rodriguez was an assistant to the artillery corps, gaining the rank of captain of the artillery. After completing topographical maps of the island he took a position with the government's stasitical commission in 1844. He is best known for his rare, incomplete Atlas Cubano (1841), one of the earliest atlases of Cuba.