The maps and the Historical Description of fray Pedro González de Agüeros: Last shreds of the Chiloe´s missionary cartography in the XVIII Century. (Part 2)
6. The Maps of the Chiloe Archipelago by Fray González de Agüeros
The historian Isidoro Vázquez de Acuña, says that in each authority, missionary or explorer who settles
in Chiloé, exists a kind of telluric impulse that “makes them interested in the archipelago and its people,
beyond the fulfillment of their mission” ((Vázquez de Acuña, 1988:8) Pedro González de Agüeros
was not unaware of this spell and years later, in 1789, physically far from the archipelago, he offered
the Minister of the Indies to write a Description of Chiloé, fundamentally motivated by the cartographic
tradition developed in the college of Ocopa. This proverbial habit, had its origin in the establishment
of new missions that went into the Amazon jungle and where it was reached by lost roads.
To rationalize the travel records, maps began to be drawn in the convent. Friar José Amich,
a Barcelonan, pilot of the Royal Navy, introduced Cartography in Ocopa in 1747. He also worked
rebuilding the fortress of Callao, after the 1746 earthquake. Amich enters the Ocopa school around
1750, being also its first historian. The historian Mrs. Carmen Montaner says that through these maps
the Franciscans “provided for the first time graphic information of unknown territories for the
Crown”, and that the King of Spain began to say "thanks to the Franciscan missionaries, graphic
information of a territory that belonged to him, but he ignored" the maps, adds Mrs. Montaner,
"constituted an important proof of justification of the missionary work of the Franciscans of Ocopa
to the King, their main sponsor" These maps were copied in Ocopa and sent to the Viceroy of Peru
and the King of Spain. Therefore, they are mainly preserved in the documentary repositories in Spain.
7. The Maps
There are three maps of the Province of Chiloé made by González de Agüeros:
a. The first, dated 1785, is a sheet of 29x42 centimeters with a box formed by a thick red and blue
line that distinctly mark the quarters of a geographical degree in both, latitude and longitude. In the
lower right corner,, a box with the signature of the drawing "Map of the Province of Chiloé in the
Kingdom of Chile and the number of its inhabitants"; in the same box the number of inhabitants of
each parish and its head is indicated. For the contours of the coast, a double gouache line of almagre
and blue color was used, it has a marked scale of ten leagues; relief is shown with shaded hills. The
original is in the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, signed as
ES: 41091. AGI/MP-PERU-CHILE 222.b. Also dated in 1785, the map entitled "Description of the Province and Archipelago of Chiloé, in the kingdom of Chile and Bishopric of La Concepción": It is a 29 x 42 centimeters sheet with slight differences in the outline of the coasts of the previous map , it does not indicate reliefs, the color of the lines in almagre with a blue gouache. The scale is 10 leagues, it has a yellow box with a lower tricolor line that divides each parallel into sixths. The toponymy is similar to the previous one. The original that González de Agüeros calls Map No. 5, is in the Royal Academy of History in Madrid and has been published in volume 5 of the History of the Franciscan Missions in Eastern Peru, from which we extracted the fragment of the figure 2 below.
Fig. 2 Fray Pedro González de Agüeros´ Map Legend: “Descripción de la Provincia y
Archipiélago de Chiloé, en el reino de Chile y Obispado de la Concepción”. (1785).
8. The Cartographer and Map No. 5
The first map of Chiloé that González de Agüero developed contains the entire Province and the Archipelago, he drew it according to the observations made on the islands and their populations during his residence in that place. He did the observation work downton the city of Castro, located in the middle of the Big Island and from that place he took the directions of all the islands and towns. Resident on the Island of Quenac, from there, he observed the situations of the the islands Meullín, Quenac, Quinchao, Linlin, Linao, Las Chauques islands; those of Alao, Apiao and Cahulinéc: Later, by order of the Viceroy of Lima, he became the Royal Chaplain of the Port of Plaza de San Carlos, taking charge of the Port and Fort of Chacao. In his four years of residence, he studied the conditions of the Port of San Carlos and its entire coast, including the Teque and Aguí fortresses. He also visited
Carelmapu and the Maullín Fort, located on the mainland.
He traveled by sea with the Governor from San Carlos to the city of Castro, Chonchi; taking notes of the coasts and the islands of Lemuy, Chelín, Quegüi and Imelec; He also traveled to all the islands and towns of the Partido de Calbuco to the North of Castro: and with all this information he drew Map No. 5; later, consulted the pilot Francisco Machado, it was included in the general maps of South America, and in particular, on the map that Francisco Noriega drew from Callao to Chiloé in 1779; "I placed the islands in their respective directions, according to the compass rose with the needle placed in the city of Castro, giving variation to the Northeast", he says. Then he arrived at the Court, drew two Maps of the Archipelago, sent them for consultation to the franciscan priests José Tortosa and Narciso Villar, who had been in Chiloé and knew the entire Archipelago and its populations, while exercising their ministry in the circular mission. The responses of the priests proved that the map represented what they saw and observed there (Izaguirre, 1923).
Fig. 3 Fray Pedro González de Agüeros: "Mapa de la provincia y archipiélago de Chiloé, en el Reino de Chile, Obispado de la Concepción, de la Orden de San Francisco, ex-Guardián del Colegio de Ocopa, en el Perú, Arzobispado de Lima, dedicado a nuestro Católico Monarca Don Carlos IV"
In 1971 Agüeros obtains from the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies
and the Court, the license to print his Historical Description of Chiloé.
He had previously submitted his manuscript to the Royal Academy of History
by order of the Monarch. The academics made slight recommendations about
his work, but authorized its publication, "to clarify to a large extent
the geography of a little-known Country and whose well-observed products
will contribute to the promotion of our construction and commerce”
(Vásquez de Acuña, 1988: 22).Once the authorization was obtained, Pedro González de Agüeros again requested authorization to add an extract from a Franciscan expedition to Tahiti. Once the permission was obtained, it also included the Diary of the pilot Francisco Machado's expedition to the Guaitecas and Guayaneco Archipelagos; which caused a serious incident for the circulation of the book. This, due to the fact that Machado's story had not circumvented the censorship of the Royal Academy of History, nor of other competent authorities. What had happened? As soon as the books were published by the famous Benito Cano´s publishing house , Agüeros sent some copies to members of the royal family and ministers of State. In the Court an intemperate alarm was unleashed by the fear that the English would find out about the few and simple news that the Spanish sailor declared. The Supreme Board of State, as in a reverse of irony for the Inquisitor of Books, ordered to suspend the publication and sale of the Historical Description; apart from asking the author for the number of copies published and to whom they had been distributed. Gozález de Agüeros presented a protection appeal, in which he demonstrates the little importance of Machado's document, realizing that the cited data were widely known by the enemies of Spain; and that they had even better and more exact directions on the coasts of southern Chiloé. Therefore, in a new analysis, the ban was lifted.
10. Final Comments
Thanks to the work of González de Agüero, the cartographic work of
the Franciscans in Chiloé has been fruitful. Since, through the
publication of his Historical Description and the printed Maps he
attached, Chiloé began to come out of anonymity, as well as, they
left an important legacy of great historical value.
1.- GONZÁLEZ DE AGÜEROS, Pedro (1791): Descripción historial de la provincia y archipiélago de Chiloé, en el reyno de Chile,
y obispado de la Concepción. Madrid: Imprenta de Don Benito Cano
2.- GUARDA, Gabriel y MORENO Jeria, Rodrigo (2008): Monumenta Cartographica Chiloensia: Misión, territorio y defensa 1596-1826
3.- IZAGUIRRE, Bernardino O. F. M (1923): Historia de las Misiones franciscanas en el oriente del Perú Tomo Quinto 1782-1792. Lima
Talleres Tipográficos de la Penitenciarìa.
4.- MORENO Jeria, Rodrigo (2013): “Los franciscanos de propaganda fide en Chiloé colonial” : Revista Archivum Año X Nº 11 p. 307-316
5.- MONTANER, Carme (2019): “Dibujos figurativos en los mapas de los franciscanos de Ocopa (Perú) de la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII”: Geocrítica. Revista Bibliográfica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales Universitat de Barcelona
Vol XXIV N° 1264 Recovered from http://www.ub.edu/geocrit/revis.htm
, Tres siglos de misiones en Chiloé. Santiago Editorial Salesiana
8.- URBINA B., Rodolfo (1990): Las misiones franciscanas de Chiloé a fines del siglo XVIII: 1771-1800
9.- VAZQUEZ DE ACUÑA, Isidoro (1988): González de Agüeros, Pedro: Descripción Historial de Chiloé. Introducción y notas de Isidoro Vásquez de Acuña Santiago Instituto de Investigaciones del Patrimonio Territorial de Chile.Notes
 Translated by Jeannette V. Ortíz
 The "Cuarto de Indias" Headquarters of the General Commissioner of the Indies of the Franciscan
Order of the Convent of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid.
 Don Isidoro Vazquez de Acuña was the biographer and editor of Fray Gonzàlez de Agüeros in the
publication of the facsimile´s re-issue containing a documentary appendix of the Historical Description
carried out by the Chilean Territorial Heritage Research Institute. Santiago 1988 Insert in: History of the Franciscan Mission in Eastern, Peru - Volume V 1782-1792 (1923) National Library of Chile