Carta Particular de las Costas Setentrionales del Seno Mexicano. [Madrid: Deposito Hidrografico de Marina], Año 1807.

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[GULF OF MEXICO]. Carta particular de las cóstas setentrionales del seno Mexicano : que comprehende las de la Florída ocidental, las margenes de la Luisiana y toda la rivera que sigue por la Bahia de S. Bernardo y el Rio Bravo del Norte hasta la Laguna Madre / construída y publicada de órden superior en la Dirección Hidrografica port disposicion del Serenisimo Señor Principe de la Pas Almirante General de Espana é Indias. [Madrid: Deposito Hidrografico de Marina], Año 1807.

Single sheet (25 x 40 inches; 22 4/8 x 35 4/8 inches to the neat line; full margins, showing the plate mark). Exceptionally fine engraved and very detailed map of the northern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, from Cape San Blas on the Gulf coast of Florida all the way down to Laguna Madre on the Mexican coast, showing soundings and latitude and longitude, the title with a great flourish top left, the seal of the Dirección Hidrográfica top right, by Juan Morata after Miguel Moreno.

Provenance: with the contemporary inscription on the verso "Seno Mexicano que comprehende la Florida occidental".

Published separately, as here, and also as No. 23 in the rare "Atlas Maritimo Espanol", based on the "Carta esférica que comprehende las costas del Seno Mexicano construida de orden del Rey en el Depósito Hidrográfico de Marina: Por disposición del Exmo. Señor Don Juan de Lángara, Secretario de Estado y del Despacho Universal de ella. Año de 1799", this is a magnificent and large-scale map of the coastline of Mexico on the eve of its fight for independence against Spain. “Like the Carta esférica, this map shows only the lower courses of the Texas rivers. Here the river entering Galveston Bay is correctly named R. de la Trinidad, instead of R. Archisas, and there is still no Brazos River. In what is now the state of Louisiana, the Mississippi is shown to a little above ‘Fte de Natchez’” (Streeter 1041).

The present map is "a larger-scale, slightly revised chart, showing only the coast between the Rio Grande and the Mississippi, was issued as the Carta Particular de las Costas Setentrionales del Seno Mexicano…. Like the [1799] Carta esférica on which it is based, the Carta Particular was an improvement over the Jefferys chart, which it superseded. It showed the mouths and lower courses of six of the seven most important rivers of Texas; the Brazos, though, was curiously absent. Detailed soundings of all the coastal waterways were given. The Sabine River is shown as the boundary between Texas and Louisiana. The chart was by no means perfect…. In spite of relatively minor errors…the continued significance of the map was perhaps best indicated by the fact that nearly twenty years later, in 1825, the first president of the new Republic of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria ordered an exact copy printed and distributed" (Martin and Martin 22B). 

By 1806, Napoleon had crowned himself emperor of France and imposed the Continental Blockade forbidding British imports into Europe. "The Treaty of Methuen (1703) was a military and commercial agreement that ensured that British textiles could enter Portugal without taxation. Portugal sought to remain neutral during the Napoleonic wars, and also to retain its commercial relationship with Britain, one that dated from 1373. In November of 1807, with the assistance of Spanish troops, France sent an army to invade Portugal. The Portuguese court, with the assistance of the British navy fled to Brazil on 29 November 1807... Napoleon managed to produce a coup against Carlos IV to have him replaced by his son Ferdinand VII, then removed both to Bayonne where they were forced to abdicate in favor of Napoleon’s brother Joseph on 5 May [1808]. This began the Peninsular War, or the Spanish War of Independence.

"The United States sought to remain politically neutral during the Napoleonic conflicts, yet international trade suffered and U.S. shipping was open to attacks by both sides. In response to both Napoleon’s Continental system and Britain’s Orders in Council which restricted foreign trade—and thus made U.S. shipping vulnerable—the U.S. instituted the “Long Embargo” (1807-1809) to deprive both Britain [John Bull] and France [Napoleon] of trade while they were at war. Neutrality was difficult to maintain, however, and as the British Navy impressed U. S. merchant sailors into service, it was abandoned altogether, leading, in part, to the War of 1812" (John Carter Brown Library online). Jackson, Shooting the Sun II, Plate 56 (detail), pp. 499-500 (#34B) (detail). Lowery 744. Phillips, Atlases, 4155. For more information about this map, or a warm welcome to see it and other maps in our gallery at 72nd Street, NYC, please contact Caleb Kiffer