Havana's strategic importance as a naval center is readily apparent on this mid-18th-century manuscript map. The center of focus is the natural harbor, with numerous depth soundings in its entrance indicating the safest passage into the harbor proper. Not only is the city fortified by a wall on its western (right) edge, but there are also six forts in the vicinity. Surrounding the city are agricultural settlements that most likely furnished provisions for the Spanish fleets returning to Europe.
Unlike most maps, this one is not oriented with north at the top of the page, rather north is at the bottom, emphasizing the approach of the Spanish ships to the harbor by sea. Drawn by an unnamed British map maker, this map reflects British interest in developing trade with Cuba during the mid-18th century, which resulted in Havana's capture by the British in 1762 for a year. At this time Havana was the third largest city in the Americas behind Lima and Mexico City, and ahead of the British colonial cites of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York