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Consag’s seminal map of California which conclusively ended the classic cartographic myth that California was an island.

Place/Date: Madrid / 1757
$975.
Title: Seno de California, y su costa oriental nuevamente descubierta, y registrada desde el Cabo de las Virgenas, hasta su termino, que es el Rio Colorado ano 1747…
Dimensions
30.5 x 28.5 cm (12 x 11.3 in)
Identifier
NL-00709
Coloring
Uncolored
Condition Rating
VG

Description

Cornerstone map of California history, issued to illustrate Fernando Consag’s report on his expedition to the the head of the Gulf of California in 1746. Along with other members of the Society of Jesus from Baja California, Consag rowed up to the mouth of the Colorado River in canoes, confirming Father Eusebio Kino’s assertion that Baja was a peninsula.

In his text, Consag relates: “It was evident, beyond all possibility of doubt, that California is a peninsula, joining the continent of New Spain; and that the extremity of the gulf, is the river Colorado, which divides the former from the latter.”

But it was this map, which was issued in Venegas’ Noticia de la California, that represented the final chapter in dispelling the myth of California as an island. While Kino had offered strong evidence that California was not an island, he did not cross the Colorado River, and therefore his theories were rejected by some explorers and authorities, until Consag’s crossing of the Colorado and exploration of the upper part of the Sea of Cortez.

Cartographer(s)

Fernando Consag

Fernando Consag (December 2, 1703 – September 10, 1759) was a Croatian Jesuit missionary, explorer and cartographer.

In 1729, Consag left for Cádiz in Spain, then went to North America, where he was active as a missionary on New Spain’s Baja California Peninsula, from 1732 to the end of his life.

Consag mounted three expeditions (in 1746, 1751 and 1753) systematically exploring previously unknown parts of the peninsula. On the basis of the data obtained, he made a precise map of Baja California (1748) and a map of the Gulf of California (around 1750).

His maps of the regions explored were popular at the time frequently copied and used. Denis Diderot and D’Alembert used some of them within the French encyclopedia, where his name is cited as “P. Consaqua.” Alexander von Humboldt used the maps in his work Carte generale … de la Nouvelle Espagne (Paris, 1804). The same is the case with Arrowsmith in his book Map of America, published in London in 1805.

Condition Description

Old folds, some small nicks at edges, 1½" tear repaired with tape on verso; very good.

References

Barrett, Baja California, 2539; Cowan II, p 659; Graff 4470; Hill 1767; Howes V69; Medina 3855; Streeter Sale, 2433; Wheat, Transmississippi West, 138.

Polk, D. B. (1991). The Island of California: A history of the myth. Spokane, WA: The Arthur H. Clark Company, p. 324-5

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