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Friday, January 16, 2015

The Spanish Master Map

The Spanish Master Map

Of all the things we have not been taught that was known at the time taught, this is likely not one of them. It is said in our local Utah history that the earliest Spanish expedition of the past was of Father Escalante in 1777. I understand why the historians promote and teach this simply because, they did not know.

Much of the evidence of prior expeditions into Utah for the purpose of mining did not come about until the last 50 years or so. It is no longer a question to those who have sought after and seen the evidences, that the Spanish and their predecessors have been frequenting the Uinta Mountains for a very long time and much earlier than many suppose, however that is another story.

 The Master Map
(Significant things removed and made obscure)

For now I would like to write about the mysterious Master Map which has appeared by mention, in many Spanish stories of the past. The first I ever heard of a master map was in a story I read concerning Thomas Rhoades who in the latter 1800’s had supposedly found at a Spanish massacre site near Nephi, along with the remains of dead Spaniards, a silver cylinder as it was described, with wooden plugs at each end and ornate reliefs on the cylinder. Upon opening the cylinder, it was found to contain what is known today as the Master Map made from leather. The map covered the area from west of the Great Salt Lake, to the Colorado Boarder encompassing primarily the Uinta Mountains.

If I do not have the 4 known Master Maps mixed up, I believe the date on this particular map was 1740 with the name Juan Alberto Serra. It is said that it showed over 100 mines and “other things.” In the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s many of the mines shown would be found and specifically where shown on the map.

If this map truly did exist, and carried the date of 1740, how many years into the past would it have taken to have documented, worked and placed on the map over 100 mine locations? Well that might be a tough question but, let me tell you of another story. Most of us have heard of the Nuestra SeƱora de Atocha, A Spanish ship bound for Spain heavily loaded with gold, silver, jewels, and many other things of the New World, which sunk off the coast of Florida in 1622. Although Wikipedia as a fair source for general information, I take most of it with a grain of Salt and if need be, dig deeper into the original sources or  consult with those who would know more about a given story.

It is clear by the available information the details of the ship documentation and the discovery who is telling the story. Now I cannot confirm the following however the individual who shared the information I find very credible. It is said that kept from the public was that much of what was on the Atocha, came from the Uinta Mountains, and on this ship sealed in a silver tube, was one of the four Master Maps. The date on the map I cannot confirm, but, I am certain it was prior to 1622. This map also had many mine locations and other things, and was very much like the one found in Utah by Thomas Rhoades.

More evidence of this maps existence could be told but is not necessary at this time; however I will say that some of those who personally accompanied Mr. Fisher over two years and his daughter after Mel’s death for another two years, to specific locations in the Uintas, are also my personal friends and colleagues. What were they looking for? Two of these witnesses do not know each other even to this day and yet both tell the same details that were told them as to what it was that brought the Fishers to the Utah Uinta Mountains, and one of those things was the map. If this map was aboard the Atocha when it sank, how many years prior did it take again, to establish, mine, and document on the map the many locations on the map?

One day I was visiting with one good friend who has one of the best collections of old Spanish Maps that have made their way to these parts over the many years. Although these many maps encompassed smaller areas throughout the Uintas seemingly made for specific expedition areas, upon examining many of them it became quite apparent that this smaller maps, were copied from a Master Map simply because of how easily one could match one to another. My friend had only recently missed an opportunity to purchase one of the 4 Master Maps known. It is said that it has found a home with a California map collector.

Renaldo Map of 1851
(One of the 11 maps used to recreate the Master)
(Significant things remove)

It would seem that when an expedition left the regions of Mexico or Seville, the head of the Expedition would copy from the Master Map believed to be in Mexico and another in Seville, the portion he needed for his specific expedition. After noticing how well these maps fit together, I realized that I had enough to recreate a large portion of this Master Map. After days of refining and matching the maps up, which by the way was not difficult, and looking at the very successful end results, I decided to create a 30 minute map base and recreate the same map yet in proper proportion.

The Holy Spirit Map
(This map was key in pulling together several maps, this map remained stored away for many 
years because it could not be matched up with topography until recently, 
It is still unknown as the date of this map whether it reads 1584 or 1884.
ALL significant features have been remove from the above image)
(Update: the date on the map is 1584 and it is signed by Antonio de Espejo)

Those of you who have perused some of these maps know the difficulty in trying to determine what was intended on these sometimes out of proportion maps. Is this a trail or a ridge? Is this line a River or a trail? Well all of these questions were answered when the maps were joined and then having created a 30 minute map base, it became very easy to answer those questions with very few exceptions. The project was a great success and since the 30 minute map recreation, a kmz has been created for a Google Earth overlay which reveals some very interesting things.

The Nunez Expedition Map of 1771
Another key and semi well known map used to help complete the master map recreation.
Although this map is relatively well know, certain things have been removed that "May" not be on the published version.

For the most part, I do not have a problem in entertaining the idea of others acquiring a copy of this Master map if you have the time and energy it will require to pursue the 80 mine sites and several cache locations it reveals. You would think I would be up to my eyeballs searching the many locations shown on the map, but the truth of it is, there are only 3 things on the map that draws my interest and these things because of a personal visit to the sites, clearly shows me that expeditions of the past have been coming here since the 8th century AD and more than likely since the days of King Solomon, 2900 years ago. The 3 things I speak of would be removed from any copy distributed. Although I have an interest in these few things, I just do not have the time to peruse anything else on the map due to many other projects underway, and my true love which takes much of my time, the study of the Native American Petroglyphs.

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