Rare Map of North America Published in Barcelona
Scarce, detailed Catalan map of North America, published in Barcelona.
The map shows the continent covered in mountains ranges and riverine systems. The names of indigenous groups are included, especially in the West. Political divisions are shown with outline color: the United States in green, Britain in red, Latin America in yellow, and France and Russia in blue. Interestingly for the date of publication, the map does not recognize the independence movements of Latin America and Haiti.
The map especially emphasizes Russian America in Alaska and includes the newly created, yet unlabeled Oregon Territory. However, flanking this extension of the United States to the Pacific are British possessions, including a curious portrayal of the British-American boundary and a British enclave on the coast of California.
Alabern y Mola's treatment of the Northwest Passage is decisive, if quite fanciful. It shows a straight run across the top of the Canadian Arctic regions, with Greenland extending in an arc across the Arctic region to Kiteguenlandia, a place name for which we can find no other references. Kiteguenlandia is only narrowly separated from northern Alaska, creating an enclosed Polar Sea (Mar Polar) for the Northwest Passage.
The Mississippi River is colored in red. The Upper Missouri River and its tributaries are largely based upon Lewis & Clark. Farther north is a more speculative geography, with dotted lines showing possible islands. Several late eighteenth-century expeditions are marked, including those of Hearn and Mackenzie.
Pablo Alabern y Molas (1804-1860) was a Catalan engraver, part of an important family of Barcelona engravers. Pablo was the brother of Ramón Alabern y Molas and father of Camilo Alabern y Casas. Born in Barcelona, Alabern y Molas attended art school thanks to funding from the Junta in Barcelona, where he won several awards for his work. Alabern y Molas engraved many of the illustrations, including maps, in Catalan publications between 1823 and 1850. From 1830 to 1840, Alabern y Molas released a series of maps of the world. He also made engravings to illustrate works by Cervantes, such as Don Quixote o las Novelas Ejemplares published in 1832. One of his most important works are the sixteen plates for Flores' Mapa de España.