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The Chorographic Commission

Cover of Mapping the Country of Regions. Illustrations: detail from Mapa Corografico de la provincia di Tunja. Levantado de orden del gobierno por Augustin Codazzi, 1850, Archivo, Archivo General de La Nazion de Colombia, Bogota. Henry Price, Minero i negociante. Medellin 1852, watercolor, 28.3 x 21 cm, Bibloteca Nacional Bogota.

At the beginning of each year throughout most of the 1850s, a small government sponsored commission departed from the high Andean city of Bogotá with scientific instruments strapped to the backs of mules. Year after year, the commissioners would travel through a different section of the young republic of New Granada, today known as Colombia. Led by a European born military officer, Agostino Codazzi and Manuel Ancizar, they made their way over the country’s three Andean mountain ranges and across its Savannahs and rainforests by mule, foot, and boat, and even occasionally on the backs of other men (Applebaum “Introduction” 1).

Agostino Codazzi

Explorer, Cartographer, soldier, member of Chorographic Commission

Born in 1793 in Lugo, Italy. Died 1859 in Codazzi, Granadine Confederation

Retrato de Agustín Codazzi, extraído del Atlas geográfico e histórico de la República de Colombia, 1890.

Manuel Ancizar

4th Seceretary of Foreign Affairs of the Granadine Confederation, First Dean of the National University of Colombia, Member of Chorographic Commission

Born in 1812 in Bogota, Died 1882 in Bogota

Photograph of Manuel Ancízar, Colombian lawyer, journalist, writer and diplomat.

Map of Colombia

Carta de la Republica de Colombia dividida por Departamentes. Lith. de Thierry Frs. a Paris. (Caracas 1840). Agostino Codazzi, 1824.

One of many maps created by Codazzi. Others were mainly of Venezuela.

Timeline of Import Dates for the Chorographic Commission


Applebaum, Nancy P. “Introduction: The Chorographic Commission of New Granada.” In Mapping the Country of Regions: The Chorographic Commission of Nineteenth-Century Colombia, 1-16. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2016.

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