Bay and harbour of Pensacola in the Province of West Florida. > Florida and the Gulf States > Maps & Charts > Heritage Charts
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Bay and harbour of Pensacola in the Province of West Florida.

A striking chart of an historic and important area of Florida as fresh as the day it was first pressed for publication 230 years ago.

Chart Information
Reference: A402
Date 1780
Hydrographer/Surveyor/Artist: George Gauld
Size Of Original: 34.5" w x 25.5" h
Paper Type Hahnemuhle German Etching 310gsm

Further Information


Chart ID



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w30" x h20.5"



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Read the full Chart History here: 

The area depicted on this chart was surveyed by George Gauld who was responsible for a great deal of the survey work along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico at this time. It is typical of the work of Gauld to include detailed notes on the area surveyed, including descriptions of the density of the sand-banks, the position of trees and other land-marks as well as information on tides. Gauld even includes on this survey a note to the effect that 'this harbour and all the coast abound with worms'.

The chart was stylized and published by J.F.W. Des Barres in 1780. It is worth noting, on a point of accuracy, that Gauld on his original survey plotted Pensacola at a Latitude of 30'.26" North and a Longitude of 87'.46" West. Today’s modern satellite technology places it at 30'.26" North, 87'.12" West. Considering the reality of surveying techniques and the tools employed at the time it underlines the skill and professionalism of men like Gauld, charged with the vital task of mapping the coastline of America. All of which was of course undertaken by the British with the sole purpose of their being able to navigate quickly and safely for both military and economic purposes.

Pensacola, had been acquired by the British in 1763, after the Treaty of Paris which had marked the end of the French & Indian war (known in Europe as the 7 Years War). Spain, the previous occupiers of the territory had enjoyed little economic success in the area and effectively traded the area of for possession of the island of Cuba. The British relocated the town from its original location on Santa Maria Island, across the bay to its present location depicted on this chart. The British carefully mapped-out streets, a water-well and improvements to the port. They built Fort George in 1779 and established the town as the Capital of West Florida. Over the next few years Pensacola was to become the centre of commerce with trade in lumber, furs and naval stores. It was at the heart of British operations in West Florida until it was lost in 1781 back to the Spanish.

Throughout the Revolutionary War the significance of ports and towns such as New Orleans, Mobile and Pensacola was not so much strategic, but economic. They were after all a long way from the fighting taking place in the northern and middle states. These ports effectively controlled the flow of supplies to the American war effort. In addition, Spain and France had their own interests in the Gulf area and were anxious to remove the British strangle-hold on them.

At the time of the Siege of Pensacola in 1781, just after this chart was published, the British under General John Campbell had begun the construction of additional defences around the bay and town. These included the Prince of Wales Redoubt to the north of Fort George, the Queen's Redoubt to the northwest and a battery near the mouth of the bay, but all to no avail.

Bay and harbour of Pensacola in the Province of West Florida.
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