Taboga, Bay of Panama - Islands of Perico, Hill over Panama &c in the distance, March 1850 by Edward Gennys Fanshawe

Taboga, Bay of Panama - Islands of Perico, Hill over Panama &c in the distance, March 1850

Edward Gennys Fanshawe

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Taboga, Bay of Panama - Islands of Perico, Hill over Panama &c in the distance, March 1850

Mounted in album with PAI4605-PAI4645, PAI4647-PAI4670.; No.39. Two sections stuck together. No. 39 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849-1852. Fold-out panoramic drawing on two joined sheets, the right one stuck down on the album page and captioned by the artist below the image, as title. 'Daphne' was lying at the island of Taboga on 21 March when Fanshawe wrote to his brother-in-law, Edward Cardwell MP, about the effects of the California gold-rush at Panama. At the time many people, mainly Americans, were thronging there to try and get to the 'diggings' by sea but generally getting fleeced in Panama saloons and gambling dens run by their own compatriots. The problem extended to Taboga: 'This island is the watering place for the ships, and is about eight miles from Panama. It is fertile and supplies Panama with fruit. A few years ago it was a favourite resort for those who wanted quiet and seclusion; now it is a den of lawless deserters from English and American ships, of whom there is a gang of about forty armed, who hold together and defy all attempts to capture them. They are now generally in the "bush" on account of our presence, but they are destroying the fruit trees and crops of the natives, out of sheer wantonness, besides the robberies and forced sales of provisions by which they subsist....: there is one large English ship here with only two men on board, the rest being with the gang in the bush. If I have sufficient information to attempt to capture these ruffians, I mean to send an armed force...' (Fanshawe [1904] pp 256-57). While 'Daphne' was at Panama itself, Fanshawe was asked to help by the Spanish Governor (through the British consul) and mounted a raid on Taboga at his and the US and British consuls' request: ' At the time there were only three or four ships at Taboga, so ruffianism was rather slack, and only nine men were arrested' most being Americans (p. 258). In this drawing the village and island of Taboga are on the left, with 'Daphne' probably the large sailing vessel closest to it (with the pennant). An American steamer is on the right of the anchorage, with what are probably the twin towers of Panama cathedral seen in line across the bay on the far right. The Perico islands are the small ones to the left of the Cathedral, which lie south of Panama and are now joined to it by a causeway, with Taboga and its small offlying islet due south of them. Today this northward viewpoint looks almost directly into the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal at Balboa, just left of the Pericos. Fanshawe preserved four views of Panama, all made in March 1850: the others are PAI4641, PAI4643 and PAI4644.
Edward Gennys Fanshawe

Original size: 176 mm x 515 mm

  • Image reference: PZ4646

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