An Official Image of the World for the Hispanic Monarchy

The Padrón Real of the Casa de la Contratación in Seville, 1508–1606

in Nuncius
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This paper discusses the Padrón Real (Royal Pattern Chart or master sea chart), an official class of maps of the world instituted by the Spanish monarchy and produced by Seville’s Casa de la Contratación (House of Trade) from 1508 onwards, in a political context dominated by the dispute between the two largest expansionist empires in Europe – Portugal and Castile – which was heightened following the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. The Padrón Real became a model for European cartographers and its history sheds light on the development of map-making practices at the Casa in the Crown’s attempt to regulate cosmography for its own political ends.

The Padrón Real was unprecedented for its time and, together with the question of how to determine longitude, reflected what were the most important cartographic challenges facing the early modern world: how to represent a three-dimensional body – the globe – on a flat surface and how to provide reliable geographic maps when they were subject to constant revision.

An Official Image of the World for the Hispanic Monarchy

The Padrón Real of the Casa de la Contratación in Seville, 1508–1606

in Nuncius

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References

1

See Antonio Sánchez“Ciencia ibérica y mundo atlántico,” Dynamis2011 31:245–259. This review essay discusses three important books in this historiographical context: Víctor Navarro William Eamon (eds.) Más allá de la leyenda negra: España y la revolución científica (Valencia: Universitat de Valencia-CSIC 2007); James Delbourgo Nicholas Dew (eds.) Science and Empire in the Atlantic World (New York – London: Routledge 2008); and Daniela Bleichmar Paula De Vos Kristin Huffine Kevin Sheehan (eds.) Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires 1500–1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press 2009). See also A. Sánchez “La ‘atlantización’ de la ciencia ibérica: el mundo Atlántico visto desde la historia de la temprana ciencia moderna” Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos 2014 60:29–66.

2

See Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra“Iberian Science in the Renaissance: Ignored How Much Longer?”Perspectives on Science2004 12:86–124; Antonio Barrera-Osorio Experiencing Nature: The Spanish American Empire and the Early Scientific Revolution (Austin: University of Texas Press 2006); Alison D. Sandman Cosmographers vs. Pilots: Navigation Cosmography and the State in Early Modern Spain PhD thesis University of Wisconsin 2001; Maria M. Portuondo Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2009).

5

Víctor Navarro Brotóns“Cartografía y cosmografía en la época del descubrimiento,” in Mundialización de la ciencia y cultura nacionaledited by Antonio Lafuente Alberto Elena María Luisa Ortega (Aranjuez: Doce calles 1993) pp. 67–73.

8

See Gerald R. CroneMaps and Their Makers (Kansas: Hutchinson’s University Library1953). I refer here to the Spanish edition: Crone Historia de los mapas (México: FCE 1956) p. 40.

9

W.G.L. Randles“From the Mediterranean Portulan Chart to the Marine World Chart of the Great Discoveries: The Crisis in Cartography in the Sixteenth Century,” Imago Mundi1988 40:115–118.

10

David Turnbull“Cartography and Science in Early Modern Europe: Mapping the Construction of Knowledge Spaces,” Imago Mundi1996 48:5–24 p. 7ff. For a discussion of the Portuguese institution see Francisco Paulo Mendes da Luz Francisco Paulo “Dois organismos da administração ultramarina no século XVI: a Casa da Índia e os Armazéns da Guiné Mina e Índias” in A viagem de Fernão de Magalhães e a questão das Molucas: actas do II Colóquio Luso-Espanhol de História Ultramarina edited by Avelino Teixeira da Mota (Lisboa: Junta de Investigações Científicas do Ultramar 1975) pp. 91–105; Luis Adão da Fonseca “Los precedentes portugueses: de la Casa da Mina a la Casa da Índia” in España y América. Un océano de negocios. Quinto centenario de la Casa de la Contratación 1503–2003 edited by Guiomar de Carlos Boutet et. al. (Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales: Ediciones El Viso 2003) pp. 33–46.

11

See Clarence H. HaringTrade and Navigation between Spain and the Indies in the Time of the Hapsburgs (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press1918) p. 35; Edward L. Stevenson “The Geographical Activities of the Casa de la Contratación” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 1927 17 (2): 39–59. See also Manuel de la Puente y Olea Los trabajos geográficos de la Casa de Contratación (Sevilla: Escuela Tipográfica y Librería Salesianas 1900). Germán Latorre La enseñanza de la geografía en la Casa de Contratación (Madrid: Estab. Tip. de J. Ratés Martín 1915); Antonio Gómez et al. (eds.) Carlos V la náutica y la navegación (Madrid: Lunwerg 2000); Mariano Esteban Isabel Vicente “La Casa de la Contratación y la Academia Real Matemática” in Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la Corona de Castilla III: Siglos XVI y XVII edited by José María López Piñero (Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León 2002) pp. 35–51; Antonio Acosta Rodríguez et al. La Casa de la Contratación y la navegación entre España y las Indias. XXV Congreso 500 Años de la Casa de la Contratación en Sevilla (Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla 2003).

13

Steven J. Harris“Long-Distance Corporations, Big Sciences, and the Geography of Knowledge,” Configurations1998 6:269–304 p. 280 in which Harris interprets the history of the Casa and of the Dutch East Indies Company and the scientific practices of the Society of Jesus based on the theories of Latour.

14

Antonio Barrera-OsorioNature and Empire in the New WorldPhD thesisUniversity of California1999 pp. 21–103.

15

Bruno LatourScience in Action (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press1987) p. 215ff.

17

Ursula Lamb“Science by Litigation: A Cosmographic Feud,” Terrae Incognitae1969 1:40–57 p. 41.

24

See Joaquim Alves Gaspar“Blunders, Errors and Entanglements: Scrutinizing the Cantino Planisphere with a Cartometric Eye,” Imago Mundi2012 64:181–200.

27

Antonio de Herrera y TordesillasHistoria general de los hechos de los castellanos en las islas y Tierra Firme del Mar Océano (Madrid: Impr. Real1601) Década II book I chap. XII p. 22.

28

Cesáreo Fernández Duro“Andrés de Morales, observador de las corrientes oceánicas,” Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica1893 34:362–373.

40

See Antonio Sánchez“De la ‘cartografía oficial’ a la ‘cartografía jurídica’: la querella de las Molucas reconsiderada, 1479–1529,” Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos2009: 1–22. http://nuevomundo.revues.org/index56899.html (accessed 30 June 2014).

44

Edward Luther Stevenson“Typical Early Maps of the New World,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society1907 39:202–224 p. 219. See Alberto Magnaghi Il planisfero del 1523 della Biblioteca del Re in Torino (Florencia: Otto Lange 1929).

47

See Lisa JardineWordly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company1998); Lisa Jardine Jerry Brotton Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (London: Reaktion Books 2000); and Peter Barber (ed.) The Map Book (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated 2005). I consulted the Spanish edition Peter Barber (ed.) El gran libro de los mapas (Barcelona: Paidós 2006) pp. 92–95.

49

Armando Cortesão“Note on the Castiglioni Planisphere,” Imago Mundi1954 11:53–55 pp. 54–55.

60

See Mariano Cuesta“Alonso de Santa Cruz, cartógrafo y fabricante de instrumentos náuticos de la Casa de Contratación,” Revista Complutense de Historia de America2004 30:7–40.

65

Louis-André Vigneras“The Cartographer Diego Ribeiro,” Imago Mundi1962 16:76–83 p. 78; Martín-Merás Cartografía marítima hispana (cit. note 32) pp. 95 96; Cesáreo Fernández Duro “Las cartas universales de Diego Ribero (siglo XVI)” Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1888 12:319–325.

68

Jerry BrottonTrading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (New York: Cornell University Press1997) p. 135ff.; and Jerry Brotton The Renaissance Bazaar: From the Silk Road to Michelangelo (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002). In both books Brotton devotes a few pages to the role played by reputable cartographers such as Diogo Ribeiro in diplomatic affairs such as the dispute over the Moluccas.

70

Surekha Davies“The Navigational Iconography of Diogo Ribeiro’s 1529 Vatican Planisphere,” Imago Mundi2003 55:103–112; Vigneras The Cartographer Diego Ribeiro (cit. note 65) pp. 76–83.

74

Edward Luther Stevenson“Early Spanish Cartography of the New World: With Special Reference to the Wolfenbüttel-Spanish Map and the Work of Diego Ribero,” American Antiquarian Society1909 19: 369–419 pp. 378–388; Vigneras The Cartographer Diego Ribeiro (cit. note 65) pp. 81–82. See also Cortesão and Teixeira da Mota Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica Vol. I (cit. note 48) pp. 107–109 (plate 41). Cortesão and Teixeira da Mota attribute this chart to Diogo Ribeiro.

84

See Alison Sandman Eric H. Ash“Trading Expertise: Sebastian Cabot between Spain and England,” Renaissance Quarterly2004 57:813–843.

94

Henry R. Wagner“A Map of Sancho Gutiérrez of 1551,” Imago Mundi1951 8:47–49; Sandman Spanish Nautical Cartography (cit. note 4) p. 1122.

111

See Antonio Sánchez“Ciencia litigante: retórica, autoridad y razón en los pleitos cosmográficos de la Casa de la Contratación de Sevilla,” Archivo Hispalense2010 93:383–403.

Figures

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    Figure 1

    Toreno’s chart of the Philippines (1522), drawn on parchment and measuring 108×75cm. Royal Library of Turin, Italy (Coll. O XVI/2).

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    Figure 2

    Anonymous universal chart (1523), drawn on parchment and measuring 112×262cm. Royal Library of Turin, Italy (Coll. O.XVI.1).

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    Figure 3

    Salviati’s universal chart Nuño García de Toreno (1525), drawn on parchment and measuring 93×204.5cm. Laurenziana Library, Florence, Italy (Manoscritto Med. Palat. 249).

  • View in gallery
    Figure 4

    Carta del navegare universalisima et deligentisima by Diogo Ribeiro (1525), drawn on parchment and measuring 82×208cm. Biblioteca Esténse, Modena, Italy (C.G.A.12).

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    Figure 5

    Juan Vespucci’s universal chart (1526), drawn on parchment and measuring 85×262cm. Hispanic Society of America, New York (MS. K. 42).

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    Figure 6

    Diego Ribero’s planisphere (1529), drawn on parchment and measuring 85×204cm. Apostolic Vatican Library, Rome (Borgiano III).

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    Figure 7

    Diego Gutiérrez’s Atlantic chart (1550), drawn on parchment and measuring 88.5×131cm. Bibliotheque nationale de France (GE SH ARCH 2).

  • View in gallery
    Figure 8

    Sancho Gutiérrez’s planisphere (1551), drawn on parchment and measuring 108×336cm. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Austria (K I 99.416 4 fol.). The planisphere is divided into four parts. The image corresponds to the portion of the planisphere representing America.

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