Havana: 1854-1855. Four volumes in one. xlxi,155; 272; 356; 200pp. 20th-century calf, spine gilt. Rear cover detached, spine ends chipped, corners and hinges rubbed. Text lightly tanned, a few pencil notations, minor wear. Good. Item #1551
A detailed geographical survey of Cuba with an enormous amount of data on topography, water resources, minerals, soil, climate, and natural history -- the most comprehensive such work undertaken in Cuba to that time. The author, Esteban Pichardo y Tapia (1799-1879) was a noted geographer, poet, and lexicographer. His Diccionario Provincial de Voces Cubanas, a "dictionary of Cuban voices", went through multiple editions in his lifetime and is considered the most important Cuban lexicographic work of the 19th century. He is also considered to be the "father" of both Cuban cartography and lexicography, and spent several decades of his life working on his Carta Geo-Hidro-Topográfica de la Isla de Cuba (1874-1875), which was the definitive cartographical work on Cuba for nearly a century.
The present work precedes his magnum opus by twenty years, and was published in four parts. The first is an "astronomical" and "hydrographical" geography of the island, which gives extensive measurements and descriptions of points on the island, according to longitude, latitude, and other nautical measures. The second section comprises an extensive natural and physical history of Cuba, with lengthy discussions of its animal kingdom, plant life, and natural resources. The final two parts provide statistical figures and descriptions of the country's topography, economy, and population, with particularly interesting tables enumerating slave and free people across the various regions of the island. A highly valuable scientific and statistical account of Cuba in the mid-19th century.
Palau 224359. Sabin 62604.