By Gene B. Stafford, Don Greer
Plane Specials sequence 6011~ Aces of the Southwest Pacific ~
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Extra info for Aces of the Southwest Pacific
The need for accurate demarcation of the Paciﬁc coast of North America for retention of Spanish hegemony in the Paciﬁc Ocean was met by the ordering of a speciﬁc expedition for this purpose by Felipe III on September 27, 1599. Under the command of Sebastián Vizcaíno, the San Diego, Santo Tomás, and the shallow draft frigate Tres Reyes were outﬁtted for protracted exploration from Acapulco northward to Cape Mendocino. On March 18, 1602, the viceroy Conde de Monterrey, Gaspar de Zúñiga y Acevedo, gave speciﬁc orders to chart and sound all bays, islands, reefs, and bars; take solar and stellar readings, note wind directions, and mark locations of anchorages, water, and ﬁrewood sources; and to clarify geographic information, establish universal place names through topographic description, and prepare detailed logs and charts.
Nevertheless, royal cosmographer Jean-Baptiste Franquelin, who had received information from La Salle in Quebec, produced a map of the Gulf in 1684, shifting the mouth of the Mississippi far to the west, on the coast of Texas, a style followed by Vincenzo Coronelli in 1688 and as late as 1737 by J. F. 13 As Arriola was preparing to leave Veracruz, Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, successor to La Salle, sailed from Brest to renew the plan for French control of the Mississippi. In Haiti he gathered information and charts and, entering the Gulf of Mexico in January 1699, reached Santa María de Galve, where Spanish commander Francisco Martínez was informed that the French were chasing corsairs.
If that early exploration demonstrated that the Paciﬁc coast oﬀered little promise of wealth, its cartographic importance was minimal during the half century following its discovery. Francisco López de Gómara in Historia de las Indias (Zaragoza, 1552) published an outline map of North America with no place names. The Venice edition of Ptolemy (1548) followed the cartography of Agnese and, like the later maps of Abraham Ortelius (Antwerp, 1564; see Plate 2) and Bolognino Zaltieri (Venice, 1566), confused place names and propagated concepts of the strait of Anián and kingdom of Quivira, northwesterly imagined extensions of North America characteristic of sixteenth-century cartography.
Aces of the Southwest Pacific by Gene B. Stafford, Don Greer