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The Cartographic World of Joaquín Revuelta Velarde

In 1797, a midlevel colonial official named Joaquín Revuelta Velarde set out to map the frontiers in the eastern Andes of Charcas (colonial Bolivia); in 1809, under drastically different circumstances, Revuelta returned to map this area. In her article in HAHR 95.3, which can be read here, Heidi Scott richly sets this mapping project within the politics and cartographic culture of the late colonial era, in which maps emerged as vital tools of imperial governance and colonial administration. This supplemental digital object is meant to bring to life the cartographic world in which Revuelta created his maps. It allows the reader not only to freely explore in greater depth the myriad maps discussed in Scott’s article but also to actively place these maps within the broader cartographic culture in which they circulated.

Instructions: The viewer allows you to consult the various maps mentioned in Heidi Scott’s article. Click on one in the left sidebar to view it in the main screen, from where you can zoom in on specific details and read more about specific features important to the map. You can click on and compare up to four maps in a grid-like fashion; the annotations on each map suggest specific comparisons to unlock influences on Revuelta’s maps. To hide a map, click on its corresponding thumbnail in the left sidebar.

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“Plano de los Partidos de Chulumani, Larecaja, e Indios Bopis, y Mosetenes, en la Provincia de La Paz,” 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 200.

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“Topografia del camino avierto por D.n Joaquin Rebuelta Velarde, hasta las Misiones de Indios Barbaros Bopis Mosetenes,” 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Intendencia de La Paz, 5-6-3.

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Plan corografico del curso de los Rios Ytenes; Mamore; la Madera; Veni, o Uccayali y Huallaga: con las misiones de Chiquitos, Moxos, Mosetenes, Apolobamba, y Ocopa, 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Intendencia de La Paz, 5-6-3.

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“Plan topografico del Partido de Chulumani, y cursos de sus rios, hasta las misiones de Mosetenes, en la Prov.a de La Paz: lebantado, y delineado por d.n Joaquin Rebuelta, año de 1810,” 1810, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtest of Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

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A modern-day map of the Chulumani district and the mission of Mosetenes mapped by Revuelta.Prov.a de La Paz: lebantado, y delineado por d.n Joaquin Rebuelta, año de 1810,” 1810, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtest of Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

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A modern-day map of the Río Beni and the wide river network in the tropical lowlands of the former Audiencia de CharcasProv.a de La Paz: lebantado, y delineado por d.n Joaquin Rebuelta, año de 1810,” 1810, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtest of Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Route map of the Apolobamba missions, 1780, by Fray Antonio Nicanor de Campos. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, 30-2-2.

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Plan of San Francisco de Mosetenes, 1792. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Interior 5-5-6.

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Map of the piedmont and the Franciscan mission of Cooti, 1804, by Tadeo Haenke. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires.

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“Plan del curso de los rios Huallaga y Vcayali de la Pampa del Sacramento,” 1791, by Fray Manuel de Sobreviela. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

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“Mapa de las Missiones de la Compañia de Ihs en el Territorio de Moxos. . . .,” 1764, by don Antonio Aymerich. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 66.

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“Mapa que comprende las misiones de Moxos y Chiquitos. . . .,” 1769, by Miguel Blanco y Crespo. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 78.

fig1“Plano de los Partidos de Chulumani, Larecaja, e Indios Bopis, y Mosetenes, en la Provincia de La Paz,” 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 200.CerrarThis is one of three maps that Revuelta produced as part of opening a route to the territories of the Mosetenes. This one was sent to Spain and provides a wide view of the Chulumani and Larecaja districts as well as the adjoining regions beyond colonial control. This map eschews the detail of Map 2 and Map 3 to represent the entire western area of the Amazon lowlands, emphasizing the centrality of the Mosetenes within the region’s routes of communication, particularly between the Peruvian Amazon to the north and the borderlands of the Spanish empire to the west.
fig2“Topografia del camino avierto por D.n Joaquin Rebuelta Velarde, hasta las Misiones de Indios Barbaros Bopis Mosetenes,” 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Intendencia de La Paz, 5-6-3.CerrarThis is one of three maps that Revuelta produced as part of opening a route to the territories of the Mosetenes. This topographic map is drawn at a larger scale than Map 1 and marks Revuelta’s road to the tropical lowlands as well as the Franciscan missions that would benefit from this route.
fig3“Plan corografico del curso de los Rios Ytenes; Mamore; la Madera; Veni, o Uccayali y Huallaga: con las misiones de Chiquitos, Moxos, Mosetenes, Apolobamba, y Ocopa,” 1797, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Intendencia de La Paz, 5-6-3.CerrarThis is one of three maps that Revuelta produced as part of opening a route to the territories of the Mosetenes. A chorographic map, it locates the Chulumani district and the region’s missionary frontier within the entire western portion of the Amazon basin, from Quito to the tropical frontiers of Charcas.
fig4“Plan topografico del Partido de Chulumani, y cursos de sus rios, hasta las misiones de Mosetenes, en la Prov.a de La Paz: lebantado, y delineado por d.n Joaquin Rebuelta, año de 1810,” 1810, by Joaquín Revuelta Velarde. Courtesy of Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.CerrarThis map, made 14 years after Revuelta’s first maps, reflects changing historical circumstances in late colonial Bolivia. Created amid rebellion in Upper Peru, the map stresses less the communication routes key to frontier colonization and instead focuses on preventing rebel movement.
fig5A modern-day map of the Chulumani district and the mission of Mosetenes mapped by Revuelta.
fig6A modern-day map of the Río Beni and the wide river network in the tropical lowlands of the former Audiencia de Charcas
fig8Plan of San Francisco de Mosetenes, 1792. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, Interior 5-5-6.CerrarThis is one of several maps of late colonial Bolivia that preceded Revuelta’s efforts. Sketched by the founders of the Mosetenes mission, it lacks the sophisticated detail of Revuelta’s maps (for comparison, see Map 1, Map 2, and Map 3). The founders indeed apologized for their lack of catographic competency upon transmitting the map to the viceroy.
fig9Map of the piedmont and the Franciscan mission of Cooti, 1804, by Tadeo Haenke. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires.CerrarFunded by the priest Patricio Ximénez Torrico and supported by Cochabamba intendant Francisco de Viedma, this map sought to link the Intendancy of Cochabamba to the Mosetenes frontier via the newly established mission of Cooti. This map is noteworthy for excluding all the previous missionary activity noted by Revuelta, in an attempt to strengthen Cochabamba’s claim to the Mosetenes frontier.
Map10“Plan del curso de los rios Huallaga y Vcayali de la Pampa del Sacramento,” 1791, by Fray Manuel de Sobreviela. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.CerrarThis map provided a major source for Revuelta’s own maps, helping to demonstrate the centrality of the Mosetenes frontier to the Spanish empire as well as Revuelta’s cartographic literacy.
Map11“Mapa de las Missiones de la Compañia de Ihs en el Territorio de Moxos. . . .,” 1764, by don Antonio Aymerich. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 66.CerrarThis map provided a major source for Revuelta’s own maps, helping to demonstrate the centrality of the Mosetenes frontier to the Spanish empire as well as Revuelta’s cartographic literacy. Revuelta’s maps borrow many details from this map demonstrating the centrality of Chulumani, including a road to the frontier via Santa Cruz and the marking of Portuguese and Spanish forts on the Río Itenez (compare to Map 2, Map 3).
map7Route map of the Apolobamba missions, 1780, by Fray Antonio Nicanor de Campos. Courtesy of Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Sala IX, 30-2-2.CerrarThis is one of several maps of late colonial Bolivia that preceded Revuelta’s efforts. Sketched by Fray Nicanor de Campos as part of a population census in 1780, this skeletal route map lacks the intricate detail of Revuelta’s topographic map, such as territorial boundaries, terrain, and scale (see Map 2).
map12“Mapa que comprende las misiones de Moxos y Chiquitos. . . .,” 1769, by Miguel Blanco y Crespo. Courtesy of Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Mapas y Planos, Buenos Aires, 78.CerrarThis map, as does the 1764 map by Antonio Aymerich (Map 11), demonstrates the centrality of Chulumani within the region.