Emmanuel Bowen; c1690-1767.
Thomas Bowen, son; c1740-1790.
Bowen set up his map and print selling business in London
in 1714. His prolific work made him prominent, and recognized
with royal appointments by both George II of England, and
Louis XV of France.
He teamed up with his most influential peers, to publish renowned
works, such as "Britania Depicta" with John Owen in 1720,
parts of "A Complete System of Geography" and of "Complete
Collection of Voyages" with Thomas Jefferys in 1744, "Atlas
Minimus" with John Gibson in 1758.
But his claim to fame came from his collaboration with Thomas
Kitchin on "The Large English Atlas" in 1755, which was considered
the most reliable geographic work on the English counties
until the Ordinance Surveys of the 19th century.
The heavy demand for ever newer maps, due to the rapidly changing
situations of the French and Indian war, the conflicts with
Spain in the Caribbean, the Seven Year War and the American
War of Independence, provided steady activity for his trade,
but little revenues.
Upon his death, his son Thomas continued the practice. He
was not more fortunate than his father: he too died near poverty
A plan of the city and harbour of La Vera Cruz, and
the castle of San Juan de Ulua ..
This small map of Veracruz (6 5/8" X 5 3/8") was published
in the May 1740 issue of the Gentlemen's Magazine, it had
a vertical fold.
The present item, with a horizontal fold, seems to have been
printed for the 1745 issue of "A complete system of geography".
It has a clear plate mark on three sides, but a tear at the
bottom has damaged the neat line on about half an inch.
Its shows the tricky approaches to Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz
(founded in 1519 by Pedro de Alvarado and Hernan Cortez who
landed near that site on Good Friday: Dia de la Vera Cruz,
or Day of the True Cross). Sand banks, reefs, depth soundings
are shown, together with the fortified island protecting its
harbor: San Juan de Ulua.
The town was the loading point for the Mexican treasures on
their way to Spain, and for the Oriental goods (coming across
land from Acapulco on a mule train).
The upper right box text provides some clues about the financing
of the silverfleet logistics: on the way back from the Spanish
port of Cadiz, the galleons served as cargo transport for
merchants of all nationalities wishing to sell commodities
in New Spain (as Mexico was known till the beginning of the
19th century) The spanish factors would then charge their
own fee, plus a twenty percent duty for the crown: the "Quinto
No text on verso.