Map of the City of Baracoa


Felipe Bauzá (also seen as Bausá, 1764−1834) was a Spanish cartographer. He trained in the technical branch of the Spanish Navy, where he proved himself to be a skilled draftsman and mathematician. For a time he worked under the direction of Vicente Tofiño, the most-esteemed Spanish cartographer of the day, on the production of the Atlas marítimo de España (Maritime atlas of Spain). He was the cartographer aboard the corvette Descubierta on the famous Malaspina Expedition of 1789−94, which, under the command of naval officer and explorer Alessandro Malaspina, visited nearly all of the Spanish possessions in the Americas and Asia. Back in Madrid, in 1797 Bauzá was appointed director of Hydrographic Office. This pen and India ink manuscript map by Bauzá is from 1831. The map is illuminated in gouache in green, sepia, and pink. Relief is represented by shading, and roads and farm plots are shown. The letter key in the lower left indicates important buildings and structures, including the parish church, the market, and the batteries guarding the harbor. The scale is in varas castellanas (Castilian yards, an old unit of measurement that varied with time and place, equivalent to about 0.84 meters). The map has great importance from both a geographical and historic perspective. Baracoa was founded by the Spanish on August 15, 1511 under the name Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa (City of Our Lady of Assumption of Baracoa). Located on the eastern tip of the island, on the Bahía de Miel (Bay of Honey), it is the oldest city in Cuba and the starting point for the 16th-century Spanish colonization.

Last updated: July 23, 2015