Charts of Spain's New World Possessions

Dirección de Hidrografía

Portolano de la America Septentrional

The charts on this page were all published in one of the four parts of the "Portolano de la America Septentrional".  As such they are a rare early record of Spain's New World possessions in 1809.

CountryTitle ItemIDURLNameURLTitle
AfricaSpanish sea chart of West AfricaDetails772Direccion-HidrografiaSpanish-sea-chart-of-West-Africa
ArgentinaMouth of the Plate River to Buenos AiresDetails641Direccion-HidrografiaMouth-of-the-Plate-River-to-Buenos-Aires
CubaAntique Spanish Chart of Eastern Cuba and the Bahama BankDetails942Direccion-HidrografiaAntique-Spanish-Chart-of-Eastern-Cuba-and-the-Bahama-Bank
CubaBahia de Jagua (Cienfuegos)Details238Direccion-HidrografiaBahia-de-Jagua-(Cienfuegos)
CubaPlano del Puerto de BanesDetails236Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-del-Puerto-de-Banes
CubaPlano del Puerto de Cebollas (Bahia de Cebollas)Details248Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-del-Puerto-de-Cebollas-(Bahia-de-Cebollas)
CubaPlano del Puerto de VitaDetails249Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-del-Puerto-de-Vita
CubaPuerto de BaitiqueriDetails245Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Baitiqueri
CubaPuerto de CananovaDetails242Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Cananova
CubaPuerto de Cayaguaneque (Cayoguaneque)Details243Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Cayaguaneque-(Cayoguaneque)
CubaPuerto de GibaraDetails237Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Gibara
CubaPuerto de Jaragua (Bahia de Jaragua)Details246Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Jaragua-(Bahia-de-Jaragua)
CubaPuerto de Maravi (Bahia de Maravi)Details244Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Maravi-(Bahia-de-Maravi)
CubaPuerto de Navas (Bahia Navas)Details247Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Navas-(Bahia-Navas)
CubaPuerto de Nuevas GrandesDetails239Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Nuevas-Grandes
CubaPuerto de TacoDetails241Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Taco
CubaPuerto del PadreDetails240Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-del-Padre
Dominican RepublicBahia Mosquito, Puerto EscudoDetails359Direccion-HidrografiaBahia-Mosquito--Puerto-Escudo
Dominican RepublicFondeadero de Chouchou, Bahia de la GranjaDetails360Direccion-HidrografiaFondeadero-de-Chouchou--Bahia-de-la-Granja
Dominican RepublicPlano de la Bahia de S. LorenzoDetails362Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-de-la-Bahia-de-S--Lorenzo
Dominican RepublicPlano de las Ensenadas de Monte-Cristi y ManzanilloDetails375Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-de-las-Ensenadas-de-Monte-Cristi-y-Manzanillo
Dominican RepublicPunta de la CalderaDetails363Direccion-HidrografiaPunta-de-la-Caldera
HaitiPlano de la Bahia del Pequeno GuaveDetails361Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-de-la-Bahia-del-Pequeno-Guave
HaitiPlano de Puerto de Delfin (Santo Domingo)Details374Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-de-Puerto-de-Delfin-(Santo-Domingo)
HaitiPuerto del Mole de San NicolasDetails364Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-del-Mole-de-San-Nicolas
JamaicaAntique chart of Montego Bay, Jamaica (Jamayca)Details1324Direccion-HidrografiaAntique-chart-of-Montego-Bay--Jamaica-(Jamayca)
JamaicaPlano de Bahia AntiguaDetails376Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-de-Bahia-Antigua
JamaicaPlano del Fondeadero BleufieldsDetails371Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-del-Fondeadero-Bleufields
JamaicaPuerto Antonio (Jamayca)Details373Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-Antonio-(Jamayca)
JamaicaPuerto de Mosquito (Jamayca)Details372Direccion-HidrografiaPuerto-de-Mosquito-(Jamayca)
MexicoAntique Spanish chart the port of Veracruz, Mexico.Details1300Direccion-HidrografiaAntique-Spanish-chart-the-port-of-Veracruz--Mexico-
MexicoPlano del Puerto del AlacranDetails118Direccion-HidrografiaPlano-del-Puerto-del-Alacran
PhilippinesIsla de MindanaoDetails712Direccion-HidrografiaIsla-de-Mindanao
United StatesAntique Spanish chart of the mouth of St. Johns River, FloridaDetails1291Direccion-HidrografiaAntique-Spanish-chart-of-the-mouth-of-St--Johns-River--Florida
United StatesBoca y Barra Del Rio NasauDetails1145Direccion-HidrografiaBoca-y-Barra-Del-Rio-Nasau
United StatesScarce Spanish chart of north Amelia Island and St. Marys River bar.Details1290Direccion-HidrografiaScarce-Spanish-chart-of-north-Amelia-Island-and-St--Marys-River-bar-

In its earliest years Spanish exploration of the new world was directed from the Casa de Contratación in Seville, Spain..  From 1505 to 1790 that organization controlled Spain’s efforts to colonize and exploit its overseas possessions west of the line established by the Treaty of Tordesillas.  The Casa de Contratación was disbanded in 1790.

In 1797 the king of Spain directed the establishment of the Dirección de Hidrografía (Directorate of Hydrography) to standardize and coordinate cartographic activities from Madrid, Spain.  The work of this organization continued through 1908. 

In 1809 the Direccion published an atlas of  plans of bays, harbors, and ports from Spain’s New World possessions: "Portolano de la America Septentrional Construido en la Direccion Detrabajos Hidrograficos".  (An updated version was published in 1818). This atlas was divided in four parts:

Part I.  Puertos de las islas Antillas.
16 charts from the Antilles including Tortola, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, 
  Antigua, Granada, and Trinidad

Part II. Puertos de las Costas de Tierra Firme, Florida y
  Seno Mejicano.
41 Charts from USA (Florida and Texas) , Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
  and Columbia

Part III. Puertos de la isla de Cuba
34 Charts of Cuban ports

Part IV.  Puertos de las islas de Santo Domingo y Jamaica
22 Harbor and port charts of Haiti, Santo Domingo and Jamaica 

In the early 20th century the Dirección de Hidrografía was closed as Spain's hydrographic activities were reorganized and spread among several organizations. Today these hydrographic activities are conducted through Spain’s Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina in Cadiz, Spain where it has operated under control of Spain’s navy since 1943.


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