Philippine Map Sells for P46.72 Million at Auction
UPDATED: (9/14/19) The Murillo Velarde Map of 1734, otherwise known as the Carta
ORIGINAL: The Murillo Velarde Map of 1734, otherwise known as the Carta
The map helped the Philippines win the West Philippine Sea Case.
In 2014, an original reproduction of the map was sold at auction in Sotheby’s in London by businessman Mel Velasco Velarde for a final price of P12 million. He brought the map to the Philippines and donated it to the Filipino people through the government. It was cited as evidence in its
“The 1734 Murillo Velarde map as historic artifact was cited in the Philippine complaint against China at UNCLOS. Problem was, the Filipino people, through their government, never owned a single copy of this map,” said Velarde.
The map was crucial in the arbitration case because it disproved China’s historical claims to the entire West Philippine Sea, particularly Scarborough Shoal, which is labeled as Panacot, later named as Bajo de Masinloc. China’s claims to the entire West Philippine Sea is heavily anchored on historical claims, but none of the islands drawn in the Murillo Velarde Map ever appeared on any of China’s ancient maps drawn centuries ago. It was only in the 1930s when China began claiming the West Philippine Sea as its own.
The map was a sensation in Europe.
One of the reasons why the map was so instrumental in the landmark victory of the Philippines against China was because of its widespread popularity, especially in Europe, thereby cementing its legitimacy as a true map.
When the Murillo Velarde Map was published in 1734 and sent to Europe, it became a very popular map there. “It became a sensation in Europe because it was very detailed,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. The map shows the entire Philippine archipelago, including its maritime features, like Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands, showing that these are part of the Philippines’ territory.
The map also identifies about 900 towns and cities, most of which bear familiar names to Filipinos. You will find that these locations are still accurate to this day, even though the map was drawn almost 300 years ago.