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Strange Maps

Pinsonia, An Imaginary Province of Brazil

Nobody knows why a map of Pinsonia was included in an otherwise accurate atlas

Cândido Mendes de Almeida (1818-1881) was a Brazilian journalist, politician and author who in 1873 published the Atlas do Império do Brasil (‘Atlas of the Brazilian Empire’).

Included in that atlas is this map of the province of Pinsonia. But at the time there was no such state. And whether Mendes de Almeida’s map was a serious proposal or merely fanciful, such a province hasn’t materialized yet.

In this map, Pinsonia occupies the northern part of the present-day state of Pará, where the Amazonian rainforest meets the Atlantic Ocean. It borders French Guyana, which lies to the west of its northernmost extremity.

“The idea of creating Provinces in the Amazon was not strange at that time (or even today),” writes professor Leonardo Monasterio, who sent me this map. “In 1876, Colonel Fausto de Souza proposed dividing Brazil into 40 Provinces, and Pinsonia would have been one of them.”

Mr Monasterio is Brazilian himself, but unfortunately can’t provide any further background. In fact, he’s a bit puzzled by the inclusion of this fictional state in Mendes de Almeida’s atlas, which otherwise enjoys a reputation for accuracy. Anybody who can provide some more information on Pinsonia is more than welcome to do so.

Strange Maps #150

Got a strange map? Let me know at [email protected].


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