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Arte de navegar
Between 1663 and 1672 the book Arte de Navegar considered first Cuban scientific volume came to light authored by Spanish doctor from Sevilla Lázaro de Flores, who had graduated in 1647 and come to work in Cuba, where he wrote the said book a decade after his arrival in this city.
Although there are several books with the same title, his is seen as one of the most important in the field of shipping printed as early as the 17th century.Christopher Columbus is merited for having discovered the two maritime rotes of North Atlantic that over the years favoured a faster and safer communication between Europe and America. Also navigation tools such as compass, astrolabe and quadrant in time facilitated navigation to and from the New World as much as measuring its lands.
But if Lázaro de Flores is seen as a top figure in the Cuban history its because Arte de Navegar provided valuable information about celestial bodies, their position in the sky and important measurement and calculations to set inter-oceanic sailing routes.

In his text, Flores gave new charts of the sun and stars declination, detailed studies of the Polar Star angle and of the navigation tools such as astrolabe, compass and ballestilla.

And provided that printing had been established in Spain since 1472, Arte de Navegar could be released in 1673.

Not until 1723, however, the first printing machines were mounted on the island enabling that another scientific document called Descripción de diferentes piezas de historia natural by Portuguese writer Antonio Parra Callado qualified in the same category by 1787 according to naturalists and Cuban fauna learners in those days.

Both antique documents deserve a special treatment because of their great value as part of the national lithographic patrimony, contribution to the scientific and technical development and of the national culture as well.

Source: Georgina Suárez, Cubasi

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