The map shown, like most of the graphic documents protected by the Archivo General de la Nación, was made to illustrate a written document. In this instance it details the exact account of the Taal volcano and its furious eruption. This map was found in a file of the Viceroyal Government.
Mapa del puerto de Taal, Luzón, Filipinas (1754) by AnonymousArchivo General de la Nación - México
Between 1716 and 1754, there were 5 subsequent eruptions of a volcano located in the Taal region in the Philippines. It rose in the middle of a lagoon, a few miles south of the main part of Manila, in the island of Luzon, the most important archipelago.
This record of the disaster, which was written and illustrated anonymously, shows the volcano in the midst of eruption, and it highlights the surrounding populations that were affected.
The main cities were identified with the image of a church and a symbol. For example the letter A was used to identify the port town of Taal, which was closest to the south part of the volcano.
The regions of Bauan and Batangas Port were identified with the letters B and C respectively, and these were located farther from the disaster zone.
The faraway town of Rosario was represented with the letter D, while Lipa was D and was located on the edges of the lagoon.
F and G indicated the areas of Sala and Tanauan respectively, and these towns were located in the peripheries of the eruption. This is shown in the map with the lava and the smoke spreading across the green landscape.
Towards the west, Balayan was identified with the letter H, and curiously Nafugbu and Liang with the letters I,J, and K, the reasons behind this nomenclature is unknown.
The illustration highlights the lush vegetation that dominated the mountainous region of the island and the gray coloring that spreads across the bottom of the map denotes the damages caused by the disaster, reaching over 10 leagues.
The record indicates that many fish died in the lagoon and that cracks in the earth appeared in several regions. The tremors, as well as the frequent explosions that threw incandescent material into the skies, caused terror in the local population.
The Philippine Islands were a fundamental contributor to the commerce of the Spanish Empire. From Manila, merchant fleets would transport goods such as silks, spices, ivory, and porcelain, and these would be traded for silver and other products in the port of Acapulco, Mexico.
AGN, Mapas, Planos e Ilustraciones N° 3791
Procede de: Gobierno Virreinal, Filipina, contenedor 2 vol. 4