Popple, Henry

Antique plan of the Harbor of Portobelo Panama


Harbour of Porto Bello


Scarce antique copper-plate engraved harbor plan of Portobelo, Panama (Portobello) after Henry Popple (1733). Popple's chart predates the later charts of Bellin and Bowen who based their geography on Durrell.

Portobelo was founded in March 1597 as "San Felipe de Portobelo". A military compound, Portobelo belonged to a larger defensive system, including Veracruz (Mexico), Cartagena (Colombia), and Havana (Cuba), to protect the route of commercial trade between the Americas and Spain. Portobelo, where the annual late summer trade fairs were held, was one of the principal Caribbean ports and played a leading role controlling Spain's imperial trade in the Americas. Source.

Key features named on the map include:
  • Castilo de St. Goronimo ( San Geronimo Fort )
  • Castilo de Fierro ( Actually the Castillo de Hierro or Iron Castle )
  • Castilo de la Gloria ( Fort Santiago de Gloria )
  • Rio de Cascasal (Rio Cascaja)
  • Savanilla
  • Ferrelon de Duarte
  • Ferrelon Negro
This antique map was originally published by Covens and Mortier in 1742 in "Les Principales Forteresses Ports etc. de L'Amerique Septentrionale" a sheet containing harbor and island maps and plans of the Americas. This map is a fragment trimmed from the larger sheet.

That sheet of 18 maps and plans of islands and harbors was publihed by Covens and Mortier to replace Popple's original large map of 20 sheets with a more manageable six-sheet version. Popple's original map was titled: "A Map of the British Empire in America with the French, Spanish and the Dutch Settlements adjacent thereto". With depth soundings, anchorages, and navigation hazards. Notation by engraver at bottom right: I.K. f.

CREATOR: Popple, Henry



BODY OF WATER: Caribbean Sea

CONDITION: Fair.  Trimmed to the neatline at left. Other margins short. Small repaired tears at top and at right. Archivally laid down to Japanese paper to add marginal area and facilitate framing. Washed.



SIZE: 6 " x 6 "




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