BARCANDA, José de and Padr. Pedro de ?ORNEDO, Jesuita. Derrotero…Durango haste San Antonio y desde Chihuahua por el paso se Sto. Domingo… [Italy: after 1778].

BARCANDA, José de and Padr. Pedro de ?ORNEDO, Jesuita. Derrotero…Durango haste San Antonio y desde Chihuahua por el paso se Sto. Domingo… [Italy: after 1778].

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Manuscript map, float-mounted and framed (sheet size: 10 x 13 4/8 inches; map size: 6 4/8 x 10 inches; framed size: 25 x 20 inches). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE UNIQUE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE ROUTE FROM SAN ANTONIO TO CHIHUAHUA THROUGH SANTO DOMINGO, sepia ink and watercolor wash, a palimpsest on earlier vellum, by Pedro de ?Ornedo after Jose de Barcanda, centred on the "Terras de Mapimi" and showing the main routes, towns, rivers and hills, with a key, title and remarks along the bottom edge, surrounded by a beautiful earlier Italian border for the original manuscript, possibly a Jesuitical diploma, in blue, red and green ink, of scrolls, acanthus leaves, with the Jesuit Christogram "IHS" at the centre of the top edge, and the monogram "AM" (Ave Maria) in the centre of the bottom edge, signed by Pedro de ?Ornedo lower right.

An exquisite 'Derrotero', or route-map, after Teodoro de Croix's (1730-1792) tour of inspection in 1777-1778, for presentation.

The route of inspection is recorded by a dotted line and the roads are in yellow. The plentiful villages, presidios, missions, haciendas, ranchos, etc. along the way are in red and for the most part are labeled and indicated by conventional symbols, which are explained in a gazetteer of sorts at the lower left center. The provinces of Texas, Coahuila, and Nueva Viscaya too are identified with much larger lettering. The Rio Grande is clearly shown by a double line as are numerous mountains. And almost at the center of the map is the “Bolson de Mapimi,” the high desert wasteland described by Lafora in 1767. The roads traveled by the expedition and others are clearly delineated, and the major towns connected by them such as San Antonio, Chihuahua, Saltillo, and Durango are plainly marked. The piece between Durango and Chihuahua of the famous Camino Real (royal road), linking Mexico City in the south to Santa Fe and Taos far to the north, is shown. The road southwest out of San Antonio to the town of San Juan Bautista on the Rio Grande traces the route taken by the French explorer Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis from newly founded Natchitoches in Louisiana across Texas to the presidio at San Juan Bautista and back in 1714-1716.

'A Derrotero by José de la Barcanda and Pedro de Ornedo of an Inspection of the Provincias Internas of Northeastern New Spain by Teodoro de Croix in 1778', by Dennis Reinhartz

The second half of the eighteenth century to Mexican independence in 1821 was a dynamic period in the history of Spain’s New World Empire, especially in its northern borderlands in the American Greater Southwest. With the occupation of Texas, Alta California, parts of Louisiana, and briefly even the western portion of Vancouver Island on Nootka Sound, the northern frontier was expanded to its greatest geographical limits. Yet, by 1750 it was still vaguely defined, poorly organized, and inadequately developed, while at the same time population experiencing population growth, restructuring, and reform.

Fifty years earlier, Spain still viewed northern New Spain primarily as a defensive region and not particularly profitable. Not only could these northern colonies barely support themselves, but their very existence recurrently was threatened by unfriendly Indians such as the Pawnee and Comanche in the northeast and the Apache and Navajo (Diné) in the northwest. These colonies also regularly experienced the encroachments of Spain’s principal European rivals—France, Great Britain, and Russia—who, for example, often armed and inflamed groups of those very same Indians against them. Thus, the relatively scanty allocation allotted this area for its protection by Spain was stretched pitifully thin. Accordingly, Spain’s policies towards its European challengers were largely reflexive, and its actions towards the Indians often were innovative, employing one tribe against another. Through reform and restructuring, the new Borbón Dynasty sought to end Spain’s imperial neglect in the New World and elsewhere. The Barcanda-?Ornedo Derretero (“route” map) is a tangible product of this reorganization.

One of the early and most consequential aspects of the attempt at the rationalization of the Spanish Empire under the Borbóns for northern New Spain was the creation of the Royal Corps of Engineers. This organization of soldier-engineers was founded on April 11, 1711 by a royal decree of King Felipe V to rebuild a “war-torn decadent empire” after the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War), but “it was not until [1763] after the Seven Years War in Europe [French and Indian War in the Americas] that the Corps became truly significant on the northern frontier of Spain’s American Empire.” The first director general of the Corps, Don Próspero, Marqués de Verboom, a Flemish nobleman, to help better educate these soldier-engineers, also established the Royal Military Academy of Mathematics in Barcelona in 1711. Their cartographic instruction was first detailed in a royal ordinance of 1718. In 1778, José de la Barcanda was a captain in the Spanish Royal Corps of Engineers.

In 1763, a defensive reorganization of the northern frontier was deemed necessary. Thus, to maximize the utilization of finite resources and to facilitate administrative reorganization, almost to Mexican independence numerous official tours of inspection and further exploration were made, usually resulting extensive reports with attendant accurate maps prepared by the engineers, which offered valuable data and observations and reaffirmed Spanish claims to the region. One of the most extensive and significant of these tours, one of approximately 7,600 miles was made between March1766 and February 1768 under the leadership of the Marqués de Rubí and assisted by Captain Nicolás de Lafora of the engineers. This expedition marked the arrival of the Royal Corps of Engineers in the northern borderlands, and its efforts eventually yielded the Reglamentos of 1772, governing the presidios on the frontier and realigning frontier defenses.

Accordingly, by a decree of Carlos III of August 22, 1776 the northern frontier provinces were removed from the direct control of the viceroyalty in Mexico City and recreated as the Provincias Internas under a comandancia general, the first of whom was the French-born Teodoro de Croix, Cabellero of the Teutonic Order and the nephew of a former viceroy of New Spain. On August 4, 1777, to gain a better geographic understanding of the mineral-rich domains under his jurisdiction he led a tour of inspection of six months and approximately 2,100 miles from his new capital Durango in the south to the new Texas capital at San Antonio de Béxar in the east, then west to Chihuahua, and finally south back to Durango. Accompanying Teodoro de Croix was Captain Barcanda, whose Derrotero of 1778 was one of the fine maps resulting from the expedition.

Derrotero-type maps were easily the most common forms of cartography accompanying the inspection reports of northern New Spain in the latter half of the eighteenth century. They denoted the real beginning of the scientific mapping of the Greater Southwest, for the engineers map mostly what they could see and survey. They were basic, accurate, succinct, and functional. In their way, they were the precursors of the modern road maps of the region. And seemingly almost antithetically, this type of cartography, while largely excluding Indian hearsay information, often for the first time map certain preexisting Indian paths later followed by Spanish, Mexican, and American expeditions. Derroteros also often formed the stems and branches from which many composite larger regional maps blossomed.

This Derrotero was skillfully and beautifully executed from Barcanda’s survey data by Pedro de ?Ornedo, a Jesuit priest, whose signature appears at the lower right of the map. It is surely reflective of his extensive Jesuit training. The Jesuit Order or Society of Jesus was founded along military lines by St. Ignatius of Loyola in Spain in 1534-1540. In addition to strict discipline, its members were subjected to an intensive Renaissance education in the classics, arts and sciences. Understandably, the Jesuits became a powerful force during the Catholic Counter-reformation and were active as a missionary order in Spanish America beginning in 1602.

This map was completed probably at the direct request of Teodoro de Croix. But it is more than just one of the official maps of the tour of inspection. Beyond it resting on sound scientific and technical footings, the artistry lavished on it points to its being a special presentation piece for Teodoro de Croix himself or for him to give to someone else of importance.

It is still first and foremost a map of the “route” taken by the 1777-1778 tour of inspection. Within an attractively executed blue, red, and green floral scrolled border, imploring the blessings of God at the top center and the monarchy at the bottom center respectively, the route of inspection is recorded by a dotted line and the roads are in yellow. The plentiful villages, presidios, missions, haciendas, ranchos, etc. along the way are in red and for the most part are labeled and indicated by conventional symbols, which are explained in a gazetteer of sorts at the lower left center. The provinces of Texas, Coahuila, and Nueva Viscaya too are identified with much larger lettering. The Rio Grande is clearly shown by a double line as are numerous mountains. And almost at the center of the map is the “Bolson de Mapimi,” the high desert wasteland described by Lafora in 1767. The roads traveled by the expedition and others are clearly delineated, and the major towns connected by them such as San Antonio, Chihuahua, Saltillo, and Durango are plainly marked. The piece between Durango and Chihuahua of the famous Camino Real (royal road), linking Mexico City in the south to Santa Fe and Taos far to the north, is shown. The road southwest out of San Antonio to the town of San Juan Bautista on the Rio Grande traces the route taken by the French explorer Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis from newly founded Natchitoches in Louisiana across Texas to the presidio at San Juan Bautista and back in 1714-1716.

The myriad Spanish place names that dot the map demonstrate the progress made by Spain in resting this territory, especially Texas, from the Indians and incorporating it into its New World empire. In fact, this map can be considered basic to the cartographic history surrounding the creation of the new province of Texas.

Maps such as this Derrotero comprise an invaluable part of the scientific and aesthetic cartographic legacy left behind by Barcanda and the Royal Corps of Engineers for future Mexican and American military mapping organizations to build upon in the Greater Southwest. And as a presentation piece of this quality it is a masterpiece comparable only to a few similar works in research libraries across the region and the United States.

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Early in June of 1773 Pope Clement XIV signed the Papal brief "Dominus ac Redemptor" suppressing the Society of Jesus. This brief formalised a suppression of the Jesuits which had begun in Portugal in 1759, continued in France in 1764 and in Spain in 1767. Charles III of Spain gave Secret orders, which were to be opened at midnight between the first and second of April, 1767, and which were sent to the magistrates of every town where a Jesuit resided. The plan was extremely efficient, executed in Mexico by none other than Teodoro de Croix. All known Jesuits were rounded up, taken to coast at Veracruz where ships were waiting to deport them to the Papal States, and ultimately to Corsica. It is very likely that this map was drawn while its artist was in exile in Italy, before the restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814 and the return of the Jesuits to America.

 


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