A plan of the city and harbour of La Vera Cruz, and the castle of San Juan de Ulua .. - #2093

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DATE: 1745

MAP MAKER: Emmanuel Bowen

SIZE: 6 5/8" X 5 3/8"

PRICE: $100.00


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 in 1790.

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 Real".
No text on verso.







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