- Title: Chart of the Gulf of Mexico, West Indies, and Spanish Main
- Author: E. & G. W. Blunt
- Date: 1845
- Medium: Blueback sea chart (engravings on three sheets backed together on original blue manila paper, hand-colored marks highlighting various cities, ports, and sites)
- Condition: Good – toning, foxing, tide marks in margins, sewn repairs to tears in left margin, creasing throughout, wear and some separations along vertical folds caused by rolling
- Inches: 84 ½ x 27 [Paper]
- Centimeters: 63 x 68.58 [Paper]
- Product ID: 316066
Map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean by brothers Edmund (1799-1866) and George William (1802-1878) Blunt, sons of American map publisher Edmund March Blunt (1770-1862). The two opened their own New York firm in 1824, and like their father published working sea charts and sold maritime navigational instruments. In 1833, Edmund began working for the United States Coast Survey in addition to running his family’s business.
‘Blueback’ charts, so named for their dark blue paper backing, were privately-published working sea charts. Printed on low-quality paper in order to save costs, these maps required their paper backing in order to hold up over the course of long sea voyages. Even so, due to their frequent use, the examples that survive today are quite rare. Expensive and labor-intensive to produce, these first appeared in late-eighteenth century London and became immensely popular by the early-nineteenth century. The convention of blue paper backing soon became common practice for publishers of other nationalities. The use of Bluebacks continued until the mid-nineteenth century, when government agencies began to issue their charts on higher-quality paper which did not require reinforcement.
Caribbean islands depicted include Cuba, the Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos. Throughout the map appear annotations about water depth, currents, magnetic variation, and sailing conditions, as well as a few notes crediting various cartographic sources. Includes several inset maps. In the map’s top left corner appears an inset titled “The Harbour of Tampico From Actual Survey, 1833” showing the city of Tampico, Mexico and environs. The lower left corner contains two insets: “Atchafalaya and Bayou Teche. By J. D. Boylan. 1841.” And “Laguna de Terminos, Surveyed by Robert Hume.”
Other insets included to the right of the map:
- A Geometrical Plan of the Principal Harbour in the Island of Porto Rico, Surveyed in 1794 by Don Cosme de Churruta, Captain in the Spanish Navy.
- Harbor of Matanzas
- Ragged Islands, Anchorage. Surveyed by Commander R. Owen. 1834.
- Rum Key
- Entrance to the Harbour of Havanna
- Harbour of St. Thomas, by Captain L.I. Rhode, Harbour Master. 1822.