Map of the Island of Cuba


Carte de l'île de Cuba (Map of the island of Cuba) originally appeared in Alexander von Humboldt’s Essai politique sur l'île de Cuba (Political essay on the island of Cuba), published in Paris in 1826. The map was produced by the French cartographer and engraver Pierre M. Lapie (1779−1850), head of the topographical section in the French Ministry of War. It shows the outline of the coast of Cuba drawn according to astronomical observations by Spanish navigators and by Humboldt, who visited Cuba in 1800–1801 and again in 1804. Humboldt’s research on Cuba expanded knowledge of the island’s geography, economy, flora, fauna, topography, climate, and soil, and his writings earned him the title of “second discoverer of Cuba.” The great German naturalist and geographer charted the coastline of Cuba with a new degree of precision. He determined the exact locations of its cities and towns, most notably that of Havana, which earlier maps, based on erroneous measurements and calculations, had placed some 20 kilometers from its actual location. An inset map of the harbor and city of Havana appears in the lower left.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information


Title in Original Language

Carte de l'ile de Cuba: redigée sur les observations astronomiques des navigateurs Espagnols et sur celles de Mr. de Humboldt

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 32 x 64 centimeters


  • Scale 1:2,000,000

Last updated: February 8, 2017