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Plano de la Rada de Tunes situado en la Costa de Berberia
1785 - Manuscript map of Tunis, made by the official draughtsman to Malaspina´s expedition, after Valdes´ design. 1785. Malta. Manuscript map in pen and ink, wash colors. 680 mm x 480 mm. Very good condition, only minor scattered foxing, else fine. A very finely executed 18th-century manuscript chart of Tunis, Tunisia and environs drafted by the important Spanish artist José Cardero, after an original sketch by the future explorer of the Pacific Northwest, Cayetano Valdés. This very attractive manuscript is centred on the heavily fortified city of Tunis, and embraces the surrounding region from the Cape Bon Peninsula in the south, up to the area around the site of the ancient city of Carthage in the north. The work captures the landscape with grisaille shading, with the towns and fortifications appearing in carmine architectural forms, while the coasts are outlined in an aquamarine wash typical of the Spanish cartography of the period. The walled “Ciudad de Tunes” (City of Tunis) is located at the head of a large lagoon, the Lake of Tunis, and is surrounded on the landward side by a ridge of hills surmounted by four forts or castles. The waters in the bay before La Goulette feature numerous soundings from recent Spanish surveys. The chart was made during the height of the Spanish military operations against the Dey of Algiers. Since 1756, Tunisia had been effectively part of the Dey’s domain. From the strategic position of Tunis, the ‘Barbary Pirates’ preyed on Christian shipping, severely disrupting European trade and, perhaps more disturbingly, forcing the captured vessels’ crewmembers into slavery. This situation was deemed intolerable by Spain, which then controlled Sicily and southernmost mainland Italy, the European lands closest to the Barbary Coast. With the support of other Christian powers, such as Portugal, France, the Venetian Republic and the Knights of Malta, from 1783 to 1785, the Spanish Navy mounted a series of punitive raids on the Algerian and Tunisian coastlines. In 1783, Admiral Don Antonio Barceló prepared a large flotilla at the Spanish naval base of Cartagena, soon re-enforced by supporting vessels from Portugal and Malta. Barceló’s force included Cayetano Valdés y Flores Bazán (1767–1835), a recent graduate of the naval academy, who would later go on to achieve fame as an explorer of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America and battle commander. Barceló’s flotilla attacked Algiers twice (1783 and 1784), failing to take the heavily fortified city. Late in 1784, they attacked the Harbor of Tunis. While they did not succeed in taking the city, they managed to destroy many Barbary ships. During the siege, Valdés was charged with surveying the Bay of Tunis, resulting in one of the finest early charts of the area. This chart was then dispatched to Valetta, Malta, where José Cardero was engaged in turning the utilitarian sketches produced by the expedition into highly refined charts fit for presentation to the highest ranks of he Navy and the Spanish Royal court. While Valdés and Cardero could not possibly have known it at the time, their careers would soon come to be closely linked during an epic voyage of exploration on the other side of the World. In 1789, Valdés joined Alessandro Malaspaina’s scientific expedition to the Pacific Northwest of America. With the rank of lieutenant, he was placed in charge of the schooner Mexicana. In 1792, Valdés and Dionisio Alcalá Galiano became the first Europeans to completely circumnavigate Vancouver Island. After the expedition, Valdés served with distinction as a naval battle commander during the Napoleonic Wars, and eventually rose to hold the highest rank in the Spanish Navy. José Cardero (1766-1811) was appointed by Malaspina to be the official artist of the expedition. After travelling to Alaska, he was assigned to accompany Valdés and Galiano during their circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. During the voyage, Cardero produced fine charts base on survey sket
      [Bookseller: HS Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-07-07           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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