Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oldest Map of Texas

1519 map of the Gulf of Mexico by Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda
The "of Texas" may be a misnomer, but this Spanish map from 1519 is considered, by trusted authorities (Wikipedia see earlier post), to be the oldest map of Texas.  In 1519, Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda led an expedition to find a sea passage from the gulf of Mexico to the Bay of Asia (also called the Pacific Ocean).  The academic legacy of de Pineda has been a series of papers arguing over what rivers he visited.  The problem is not with the rivers, but the fact that each explorer who would pass the river would give it a new name in the glory of God and the patrons who funded their explorations.  The re-naming problem is made worse by the lousy maps drawn de Pineda and his cohorts.  For example, is "Espiritu Santo" the Mississippi or the Alabama River?  Is "Rio de las Palmas," to which he referred in his journal, actually the Rio Grande (aka Rio soto la Marina, aka Rio Bravo del Norte, aka Rio Bravo) or the Rio Panuco?  Ultimately, modern scholars (should) have concluded that he really did not know where he was, because he was relying on directions from native Americans and his main competition, Hernan Cortes.  And, we all know what a trickster that Cortez guy was... all except the Aztecs and de Pineda.

No comments:

Post a Comment