By: REQUENA, F.
Place / Date: Bourquin, F. Philadelphia, ca. 1876,
Dimensions: 790 x 900mm.
Condition: Sectioned and mounted on cloth backing to fold to 32 x 25 cm. Paper slightly browned and stained.
Rare first edition of the map drawn by Francisco Requena (1743-1824) after his expedition to the Amazon in order to delineate the boundary between the Spanish and Portuguese possessions in South America. The map covers most of South America and highlights the newly established Line of Demarcation. It is supplemented with “Advertencias sobre esta mapa general” and “Esplicacio?n de la linea de demarcacio?n y puntos de disputa” ? a list of twenty border questions still to be resolved.
The map was drawn in 1796 to illustrate Requena?s official report ?Memoria Hist?rica de las Demarcaciones de L?mites en Am?rica entre los Dominios de Espa?a y Portugal?. None of the documents were published by the Spanish authorities at the time. ?Requena?s maps proved of value in post independence border disputes.
In 1876 the Venezuelan government ordered the printing of Requena?s ?Memoria Hist?rica? and an associated map ?Parte de los virreynatos? to be used as documentary support for the arbitration of Venezuela?s border with Colombia. About the same time, F. Bourquin, a contract printer in Philadelphia, made a lithographic printing of the ?Mapa Geogr?fico?? (Layland, M. ?A Land that is uncultivated, insane, impassible and largely unknown??, p. 49).
The map was ?drawn to indicate the boundaries between the Spanish and Portuguese territories in accordance with the Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1777.
Francisco Requena arrived in America in 1764, having accepted a commission in the Spanish Americas in order to obtain promotion. He mapped the cities of Panama and Cartagena and was persuaded by the Viceroy, Mesia de la Cerda, to remain in America to continue his cartographic work, being asked to make a general map of the whole of the province of Guayaquil. After the Treaty of San Ildefonso, he was commissioned to establish the boundaries between the Spanish and Portuguese territories from the mouth of the Riber Yavari to the Rio Negro. The expedition was fraught with difficulties, the Spanish having little co-operation from the Portuguese. He systematically sent regular reports and letters to the Viceroy recording his movements and the situation with relation to the Portuguese.
In 1783 Requena was kept waiting at Ega (Teffe), unable to achieve his objective to define the boundary line between the two colonial powers, and to obtain a joint statement with the Portuguese. While awaiting the outcome of negotiations he took advantage of his enforced idleness to examine his manuscript notes and draw a map of the territory. This he sent to the Viceroy on 28 April 1783 (the map is dated 1 April 1783) having first to request a special pass from the Portuguese for his second in command to travel to Quito, which they refused to grant. At the end of 1790 he took up his duties as govenor of Mainas, and in 1794 left for Spain, later becoming Minister of the Council of the Indies? (Sotheby?s)
Complete title : Mapa geogra?fico de la mayor parte de la Ame?rica Meridional que contiene los paises por donde debe trazarse la li?nia divisoria que divida los dominios de Espan~a y Portugal : construido en virtud de real o?rden por el teniente general Dn. Francisco Requena en el ano de 1796.