Map of the City and Bay of Cartagena de las Indias


This hand-colored pen-and-ink manuscript map was drawn by Antonio de Ulloa (1716–95) in 1735, based on an earlier map by Juan de Herrera dating from around 1721. It shows in great detail the bay of Cartagena de Indias and the adjacent coastal area of the present-day city of Cartagena, Colombia. The territory was then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Spanish Empire. The map is oriented by a compass rose with north pointing to the left. Longitude is set in relation to the Royal Astronomical Observatory at Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Soundings and fathom lines indicate the depth of the sea bottom for navigation. Also shown are roads and forests. The title, author, and scale of the map are given in the upper right, on a pedestal flanked by figures of Indians. Ulloa was a Spanish naval officer, who in 1735 was appointed a member of the scientific expedition to Peru organized by the French Academy of Sciences. He spent nearly a decade in South America with the expedition. Ulloa was en route back to Spain in 1745 when the ship on which he was traveling was captured by the British. He was taken as a prisoner to England, where he spent a number of years. He gained the respect and friendship of many leading English scientists and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in London. He eventually was allowed to return to Spain and in 1784 published Relación histórica del viaje á la América Meridional, a detailed account of the people, geography, and natural history of South America based on his research on the continent. This map may have been the original of the one that appears in Ulloa’s Relación. The noted Spanish cartographer Tomás López (1730–1802) also used Ulloa’s map for his later chart of the bay and city of Cartagena.

Date Created


Title in Original Language

Plano de la Cyudad y Bahya de Cartagena de las Yndias Situado a los 300 Gs. 41 Ms de Longytud Prymer Merydo. el Pyco de Teneryfe y 10 Grs 27 Ms. de Latytud Boreal en el Nuevo Reyno de Granada. Levantado por D. Juan de Herrera, Ratyfycado y Delyneado por D. Antonyo de Ulloa

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 manuscript nautical chart, color ; 46 x 69.5 centimeters


  • Scale ca. 1:25,000. 4,000 Castilian varas = 12 centimeters.10,000 Rhine feet = 10.9 centimeters

Last updated: October 16, 2012