The Fraudulent Povedano Map of Negros
"Geographical map describing the voyage which he the illustrious
encomendero Diegus Lope Povedano of Buglas Island and shores for his Majesty
the King and Spain made on our land journey and sea voyage amongst them
the year 1572." (Translation of the cartouche.)
This is a tracing of the Povedano map as it appeared in the November 21,
1913 edition of Renacimiento Filipino (Filipino Renaissance). The
original parchment was supposedly discovered by Jose E. Marco who donated
it to the Philippine Library and Museum in 1914. It was destroyed in the
Second World War but a photographic copy survives in the Robertson Collection
in the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library at Duke
University, Durham, N.C., U.S.A. Click on the map for
a larger image.
Origin of the Map
The map was said to have been discovered when the walls of the prison in Himamaylan, Negros were
torn down in 1833. The map was rolled up inside a metal tube contained in a lead
box hidden in one of the walls. An inventory of the contents of that box was
written on the back of the map and dated March 23, 1833 but the Robertson
photographs don't show it and it was note mentioned in Robertson's initial
description. The inventory stated that, “All items
were left with Don M.V. Morquecho" and it was indeed signed
by Manuel Valdivieso y Morquecho and two witnesses. However, according to the
archives in Madrid and Seville, Don M.V. Morquecho was still in Cadiz, Spain as
1847 petitioning Queen Isabella II. He was asking her not to send him to the
Philippines at all. He did become governor of Negros but not until 1849.
a series of thefts the map ended up in 1898
in the hands of a former servant of Governor Valdivieso who supposedly sold it
to José E. Marco sometime after November 18, 1913 only three days
before this tracing was published in Renacimiento Filipino.
Leagues Equal to Kilometres
most glaring anomaly of the map is its scale labelled with the unknown
measurement Leuea Linea.
According to this scale the Island of Negros is about 243 leueas from
north to south. If the term leuea is simply a misspelling of the Spanish
word legua or league, this measurement is far from the contemporary
figures which estimated the length of Negros to be only 45 leagues. (A
Spanish league in the 16th century was approximately 4.18 kilometres.)
The figure of 243 leueas is suspiciously close to the actual modern
length of 222 kilometres. Suspicious because there was no such measure as
a kilometre in 1572. The kilometre was invented by the government of
France in 1799.
below shows a comparison of Povedano's scale to the modern kilometre and
the Spanish league of the 16th century.
mistaken use of the league measure is common to many of the José Marco
hoaxes. The manuscripts attributed to José María Pavón mentioned that
there was ancient fortress at Marayo (now Pontevedra) which was about
twenty leagues to the north of Himamaylan. Those towns just happen to be
20 kilometres apart. And in a 1970 article in Philippine Studies 18
entitled The authenticity of the writings attributed to Father Jose
Burgos, Fr. John Schumacher investigated other Marco frauds which also
mentioned leagues that equalled kilometres.
The map shows three crosses at the
approximate locations of the towns of Himamaylan, Pontevedra and Bacolod.
Presumably these crosses represent churches but as of 1572 the were no
churches on the island of Negros. In fact there were only ten priests in
the entire Philippines at that time and none of them were on the island of
Kalantiaw was said to have built a fort at Gagalangin, Negros according
to the article Civilización Prehispana by Manuel Artigas, an
associate of José E. Marco, in the July 1913 issue of Renacimiento
Filipino. The Povedano map was published later that year in the
November issue of that same journal. Three forts are displayed on the map
but Gagalangin is not shown. Thus when the Pavón manuscripts were donated
to the Philippine Library in the following year, the location of
Kalantiaw's fortress was changed to Calingling in order to match the map.
Juan Camunhing Rigay
Juan Camunhing Rigay is the name written at the bottom left of the 1572
map. It is similar to two informants that were mentioned by José Pavón
in 1838, Domingo Rigay and Canunhing. Both the map and the Pavón
manuscripts were supposedly discovered by José Marco.
16th Century Parchment
The original map was drawn on leather parchment unlike all other documents
of the Spanish period, which were written on paper. Also, it is unlikely
that an image could survive on a parchment document that had been folded,
rolled inside a tube, left in a limestone wall of a building in the tropics
for possibly more than 250 years, kept in unknown conditions between 1833
and 1914 and then finally be successfully unrolled and traced.
KALANTIAW ENGLISH HOME
Main information source:
Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History, Revised
by William Henry Scott
Weights and Measurements in California's Mission Period: Linear
Measurements, Part 1 by Kenneth Pauley, updated March 10, 2001. http://www.ca-missions.org/pauley.html
Paul Morrow, 2001
Latest update: 9 July, 2003