CONRAD MANNERT, Charte von Sud Amerika nach astronomischen Beobachtungen, 1803.

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CONRAD MANNERT
Charte von Sud Amerika nach astonomischen Beobachtungen, den besten vorhandenen Charten und den Berichten der Missionaren ausgefertigt
Nuremberg: Adam Gottlieb Schneider and Weigels, 1803
Copperplate engraving with original hand color
Paper size: 28" x 23"

This is an 1820 Franz Pluth map of South America. The map depicts the region from Central America and the West Indies to Tierra del Fuego and cape Horn and from the Pacific Ocean and the Galapagos Islands to the Atlantic Ocean. Highly detailed, innumerable locations are labeled throughout, including islands, countries, cities, towns, rivers, and lakes. Nearly all of the Caribbean islands are labeled, among them areMartinique, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Cozumel, off the Yucatan Peninsula, is also noted, along with Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama in Central America. In South America, cities and towns are evident from Cartagena to Patagonia, includingQuito, Caracas, Cayenne, Paramaribo, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Cuzco, La Paz, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo. The Amazon River and its basin dominate the northern portion of the map, with the Paraguay River and the Rio de la Plata acting as the focal point in the southern half of the continent.

Laguna de Xarayes

Also included on this map is a representation of the apocryphal Lake of Xarayes at the northern terminus of the Paraguay River. 'Xarayes' is a corruption of 'Xaraies' meaning 'Masters of the River.' The Xaraies were an indigenous people occupying what are today parts of Brazil's MatteGrosso and the Pantanal. When Spanish and Portuguese explorers first navigated up the Paraguay River, as always in search of El Dorado, theyencountered the vast Pantanal flood plain at the height of its annual inundation. Understandably misinterpreting the flood plain as a giganticinland sea, they named it after the local inhabitants, the Xaraies. The Laguna de los Xarayes almost immediately began to appear on early mapsof the region and, at the same time, almost immediately took on a legendary aspect as the gateway to El Dorado.This map was created and engraved by Franz Pluth in 1820.