Map of the Straits of Magellan and Part of the Land of Fire, Prepared in 1786


This composite map of the 1785-86 scientific expedition to the Strait of Magellan under the command of Antonio de Córdoba (1740?-1811) represents the first comprehensive study of the region. The map includes references to ports, bays, channels, and other natural features, a keyed legend, and a detailed explanation and notes. Córdoba was a commander (teniente general) in the Spanish Navy who participated in various battles, campaigns, and scientific expeditions throughout the Spanish Empire and beyond. These activities took him to Havana in 1761, Algiers in 1767, Peru, Chile, and New Granada in 1768-72, Brazil, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands in the 1760s, and the Strait of Magellan in the 1780s. During the second half of the 18th century, the European powers promoted scientific expeditions and surveys to the Americas as well as to other parts of the world. Under King Carlos III (1759-88), Spain launched expeditions to various parts of its vast empire for scientific, commercial, political, and military ends. The product of one of these expeditions, this map is part of the Library of Congress collection of Real Escuela de Navegación maps purchased from Maggs Brothers, London.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Carta Reducida del Estrecho de Magallanes y Parte de la Costa del Fuego Levantado en el Año de 1786

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 pen-and-ink and watercolor manuscript map ; 56 x 85 centimeters


  • Scale approximately 1:810,000.

Last updated: September 29, 2014