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History of Cuba Through Maps Lecture at Library of Congress May 13

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Architect and urban planner Julio César Pérez-Hernández will discuss the history of Cuba through cartography on May 13, 2016 at the Library of Congress.

“Islands in the Stream: Cuban Maps from the Past to the Future” will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 13 in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, free and open to the public, is hosted by the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society, a friends group of the Library’s Geography and Map Division.

Facsimile of the 1500 map of the world produced by Juan de la Cosa (c. 1450–1510). The original is housed at the Museo Naval de Madrid.
Facsimile of the 1500 map of the world produced by Juan de la Cosa (c. 1450–1510). The original is housed at the Museo Naval de Madrid.

Pérez-Hernández will offer a rich visual presentation—combining maps, old engravings and plans—to narrate the history of Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, and its relationship with the rest of America since colonial times. The lecture will begin with the 1500 Juan de la Cosa Map of Cuba, the first one to demonstrate that Cuba was an island, and will conclude with Perez Hernandez’s own “Master Plan for XXI Century Havana.” Anthony Páez Mullan, a cartographic reference specialist in the Library’s Geography and Map Division, will offer introductory remarks.

Pérez-Hernández describes Cuba as “the jewel of the Spanish Crown and the most desired of Spain’s overseas colonies [that] evolved from a springboard to the conquest of other territories in America, through the place where the biggest shipyards in America were once, and ultimately to the most cosmopolitan Caribbean metropolis with a strong European influence.”

Detail of Juan de la Cosa's 1500 map, showing Cuba as an island for the first time.
Detail of Juan de la Cosa’s 1500 map, showing Cuba as an island for the first time.

An international consultant at Caesar Studio / Architects and Planners in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Pérez-Hernández is of Cuban descent. He was a Harvard University Loeb Fellow in 2002. He is the author of the books “Inside Havana” (2011) and “Inside Cuba” (2006), as well as the “Master Plan for XXI Century Havana.” He has been a guest lecturer and visiting scholar in the United States, Europe, Canada and Cuba.

The Philip Lee Phillips Society helps to develop, enhance and promote the collections of the Library’s Geography and Map Division by stimulating interest among map collectors, map producers, geographers, cartographers, and historians. It is named in honor of Philip Lee Phillips (1857-1924), the first Superintendent of Maps when the Library’s Hall of Maps and Charts was established in 1897.

The Library of Congress has the largest and most comprehensive collection of maps and atlases in the world, some 5.5 million cartographic items that date from the 14th century to the present time. The Library’s map collections contain coverage for every country and subject, and include the works of the most famous mapmakers throughout history—Ptolemy, Waldseemüller, Mercator, Ortelius and Blaeu.

Press contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Press contact: Ryan Moore (202) 707-7779
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]

Comments (4)

  1. Will not be able to attend Mr. Pérez-Hernández’ lecture on Cuban maps, but would like to receive his e-mail to see if he can send me a copy of his lecture.

    Thank you.
    Ernesto Cuesta

    • Ernesto – please get in touch with the “Press Contacts” at the bottom of the blog post. They will be able to answer your question.

  2. Hello, I am doing a study of Cuban cartography during the 15th and 16th Century. Is this lecture available for me to see/listen to? Thank you in advance,
    Idania Cater
    Florida International University, Graduate Student

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