The State Library of NSW has just acquired a series of rare, hand-coloured charts which document a significant yet largely forgotten story of late 18th century Spanish exploration in the Pacific, it was announced today.
The collection of 24 original Spanish sea charts from the 1770s, acquired from a dealer for $300,000, contains some of the earliest detailed charts of the Spanish expeditions to Tahitiand Easter Island.
Three of the most highly decorative charts from the collection will go on public display in the State Library’s Amaze Gallery from today, Friday 28 November.
According to Maggie Patton, the State Library’s maps expert, “The Spanish were eager to retain a foothold in the Pacific region before the English or French and subsequently, in 1774, established a small colony in Tahiti including two Franciscan priests. The colony failed and the settlement was abandoned a year later.”
“This exciting haul of Spanish charts fills an important gap in the Library’s collection from the late 18th century,” said Ms Patton
See the full media release attached.