Rare Spanish sea chart of the region extending from eastern Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to St. Christopher and St. Barts, published by the Spanish Hydrographical Survey.
The chart is drawn from the hydrographical expeditions of Churruca and Fidalgo. Joaquin Francisco Fidalgo and Cosme Damian Churruca were Spanish Naval Officers and Hydrographers who in 1792 captained two divisions of brigs to chart the coast of North America and the Caribbean, in order to create the first Spanish hydrographical atlas of the coastlines of North America, designed to promote and improved Spanish trade and commerce with the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Mainland and the Antilles.
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.