Primitive Map of the Upper Paraguay River and Its Tributaries Cuiaba, Porrudos and São Lourenco


This hand-drawn map from around 1720 shows the Upper Paraguay River and its tributaries, the Cuiaba, Porrudos, and São Lourenco rivers. The basin of the Upper Paraguay River is located in the present-day Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, and is the largest floodplain area in the world. This map subsequently played a role in establishing that Portugal occupied these inland territories and therefore could claim legal ownership under the terms of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid. The map was drawn with ferrogálica, an ink that at one time was widely used, but which corrodes the paper on which it is written, making surviving examples of such works rare. Ferrogálica is made up of four basic ingredients: tannic acid, ferrous sulfate, Arabica gum, and water. It starts as bluish-black, but becomes completely black when exposed to oxygen. Over time, it fades to a brownish color.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Mapa rudimentar do alto Paraguai com seus afluentes entre os quais o Cuiabá e o Porrudos, atual São Lourenço

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 manuscript map ; Ferrogálica drawing ; 31 x 44 centimeters

Last updated: September 11, 2013