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Sunday, March 18, 2018

History of the Spanish Master Map

History of the Spanish Master Map

Many of those who have taken up the hobby of treasure hunting, have never heard of the Spanish Master Map, even those exclusive to treasure hunting in Utah. Did you know that what is thought to be a copy of a Master Map was discovered by Thomas Rhoades at a massacre sight in Chicken Creek? The Map was referred to as the Silver Cylinder map, which covered an area from west of the Great Salt Lake all the way to the Colorado boarder? It is said that it had over 100 Mine locations and several other things.

Another presumed master map was in a private collection of a man in Utah county, It is presumed to have been sold to a private collector in California, A friend of mine came very close to getting pictures of it before it was presumed to have sold, however as a result of another’s interfering antics, the holder of the map cut off all communications which was only through a 3rd party.

Another occasion of what was thought to be an early version of a Master map appeared in Utah in late 1980’s when Mel Fisher came to Utah searching for places on a goat skin map which was said to have been sealed with wax in a cannon barrel found on the Atocha. It was relayed to me by this friend that Mel believed that the contents of the Atocha came from specifically the Uinta Mountains. This map was said to cover an area from at least Kamas Utah to Vernal Utah, his hired guide who is a friend of mine, got just a bit more than a glance of the map. A few others I know who had personal knowledge of Mel’s 2 year search but also his daughter who also came searching not long after Mel had past away, and searched another two years. The areas Mel is said to have been looking but not limited too, includes Hoyt Peak, Soapstone and an area west of White Rocks.

Now the Atocha sank in 1622, so how many years prior did these expeditions begin coming to the Uinta’s where in a map was in existence covering such a broad range? The earliest documented expedition into the Uinta Mountains was in 1584 headed by a privateer Spaniard, Antonio de Espejo,  with a previous expedition in 1582-3. It is unknown as to whether a Master Map was underway at the time, the map itself does not share the typical characteristics you would find had it been made by an expedition assigned cartographer. It is because of the whole story behind Antonion de Espejo, that it is suspect that not only was the master map underway, but other maps from a previous expedition period of Europeans existed, dating back as far as 700 AD up and to about 1050 AD. Evidence of this hypothesis, would not be difficult to show... Anotnio de Espejo's map of 1584-8, although highly suspect as having NOT come from a master map, it is incorporated into this map project.

Of the previous mentioned maps, it is unknown if any of them were actually “Master” maps, as it is said and stands to reason that the true master maps would have never left Mexico City, Madrid and Seville Spain, and rumor has it one was even kept in Santa Fe New Mexico. To keep the maps from leaving their safe places, expedition leaders would simply “Copy” the map potion they intended to travel to, such as the famous Reinaldo Map, these portions of maps are those which occasionally surfaced in Utah. Dozens of maps have surfaced over the years here in Utah many very obviously pertaining to portions of the Uinta Mountains.

In a private collection of near 100 maps, and after careful scrutiny of the collection, I was able to narrow a selection of maps to 11 which was felt to be authentic and which were to be used in what became the Master Map recreation Project.

What is the Master Map Recreation Project?

One day while going over the maps discussing them with my map collector friend, I brought up 3 of the maps and asked if he noticed how well they came together when putting them side by side, he said he had noticed two of them but not the third. He asked me why I thought they matched so well. The only thing that made any sense to me is that these maps which were likely carried by the expedition leader whose name was on them, copied them from one of the Master Maps prior to the expedition. The idea came into my head that the 11 previous mentioned maps could be put side by side or incorporated into the whole of what would be a recreation of a fair portion of the Master Map from which they came from. The maps used met the tests of scrutiny, some of them have been published but not in entirety, other had not and still have not.

Digitally stitching the maps together took a few days and when I finished, knowing the maps are not geographically correct, I thought what if…. What if I could create a 30 minute map base with drainages and mountains etc… essentially recreating the Master recreation but geographically correct and after words add in all the other marks with the finished product being a geographically correct Spanish Master map. In my estimation this was a great success as it helped resolve issues of what drainage was intended in the original maps making it difficult to find certain features. Correct geography was a key in resolving perception differences. 

Then the big idea hit… what If, now that I have a geographically correct map base, why couldn’t I create an overlay version for Google Earth? Could it help in locating mine sites and such? Using this tool, I have found several mine sites one in particular that has been sought after for a very long time and only speculation as to its whereabouts has been written, the famous Mina De Rey, The Mine of the King. Rumor has it the Mina De Rey was mine anciently long before the Spaniards, but by whom?


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