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Martin-Merás, Luisa & Belén Rivera, Catologo de cartografla historica de España del Museo Naval. Madrid: Museo Naval-Ministerio de Defensa, 1990. ISBN-84-505-9117-1. 8¼ x 11½ inches, xx, 433pp., illustrated, paper. (Museo Naval, C/Montalbàn 2, 28071 Madrid, Spain, 3500 pesetas).

This work describes 1111 mostly manuscript maps of Spain and its old African possessions plus Gibraltar.  Each entry reproduces the cataloging information along with a small (about 2 x 2 inches) reproduction of the map.  Although the reproductions are too small to allow reading of the place names, they do clearly show the area represented by the map.  This is an excellent idea which I expect other catalogs to follow some day.  Introductory material gives an overview of the Museo Naval collection and details the history of the Direcci6n de Hidrograffa and its sister organizations.  Though not part of the corpus described later, the introduction gives a list of several dozen maps engraved by the Direccion de Hidrografía from 1797 to 1824.  Many of these are American maps of the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico.  An interesting list of mapping commissions and expeditions is given, including the Comisi6n de Limites en al Alto Orinoco and Expedición de las goletas Sutil y Mexicana a la exploración del estrecho de Juan de Fuca.  Perhaps the most productive 'mapping' expedition was that of Capitan de fragata José Mendoza y Rios who, in 1789, was sent on an expedition to the major capitals of Europe to buy all the charts and atlases he could!  The work is well indexed.  Several color plates show how beautiful some of these maps are.  Though the maps listed are mostly of Spain, anyone interested in the history Spanish hydrography, circa 1800, will find the introduction to be very helpful.

David C. Jolly, 1992
 

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