Plan of the Town of Porto Bello.


A plan of the Battle of Porto Bello published just months after the momentous British victory.

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This fascinating plan shows the town and harbor of Porto Bello – a coastal city in modern day Mexico that was a critical port of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. It was published in the March, 1740 edition of London’s Gentleman’s Magazine. Given how long it took information to reach Europe from the West Indies, it was likely issued shortly after news arrived of a tremendous British victory that took place in November of 1739.

With six ships, Admiral Edward Vernon caught the Spanish defenders unprepared and successfully subdued both the outlying fortifications and the town after a day-long engagement. The course of events is shown in some detail within the image, and is accompanied by a description that outlines the attack in further detail.

The map was issued during a period of conflict between British and Spanish interests in the Caribbean known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Named after an English captain who had his eat cut off by an impetuous Spaniard, the war was driven primarily by economic motivations.

In addition to capturing a larger share of the lucrative West Indies market, Britain also wanted to ensure Spain honored the Asiento de Negros contract. This monopoly, issued to various European powers across the years, allowed for the legal transportation of slaves to colonies in the Spanish Americas. Britain had been granted the monopoly at the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, but would lose it after the ongoing War of Jenkins’ Ear evolved into the broader War of the Austrian Succession.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1739

Author: Gentleman's Magazine

Sheet Width (in): 5.00

Sheet Height (in): 7.90

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Small binding holes on the right side of the sheet and a few small spots of discoloration in the lower text area. Remains in very good condition, with attractive hand color.


1 in stock