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Unpublished map of Havana Bay found in the General Archive of the West Indies

Published: 2020.06.29 - 08:53:26  /  web@renciclopedia.icrt.cu  /  Redacci├│n Digital

Unpublished map of Havana Bay found in the General Archive of the West Indies

The General Archive of the West Indies, a historical and cultural institution based in Seville, Spain, found an unpublished map of the Bay of Havana representative of the political context of the late 18th century.

According to a publication on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Government of Spain, the document, which was located by a researcher in the Papeles de Cuba 1516B file and is dated August 11, 1798, complements a large collection of urban maps of the Cuban capital.

According to the article, it shows the project for the construction and disposition of two gunboats in Havana Bay for their defense from English ships, a proposal made by the Fortification Board and moderated by the Secretary of State for Finance.

It reflects the efforts of the Iberian country to defend its overseas territories from foreign attacks and shows the balances and conflicts that marked the relations between the European powers at the end of the 18th century, says the website.

The plan found dates from a time when the Spanish crown feared a new attack from the English on Havana, as it had done in 1762 when it managed to take the city and is, according to the deputy director of the Seville archive, Guillermo Morán, an example of the advanced defense measures to contain an attack.


With respect to the discovery and signifying its importance, Morán also declared to that medium that the appearance of new maps or plans is very rare, since their systematic cataloguing has been carried out since the end of the 19th century.

The document will be analyzed and described for its subsequent digital publication in PARES, the Portal of the Spanish Archives, the database of the Ministry of Culture and Sport that allows the telematic consultation of part of the archival collections that it manages.

The section Papeles de Cuba, where the map has been located, is a part of the former archive of the General Government of Cuba referring to matters of the Treasury and War, clarifies the article.


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