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Description: This fine, large original antique map, a sea-chart of the Southern Hemisphere was engraved by Robert Benard and published in the 1780 French edition of L'Histoire Generale des Voyages.
Background: The map is a South Polar Projection showing South America, the South Atlantic Ocean, South Africa, Madagascar, Australia - with Tasmania still joined to the mainland - New Zealand and the southern Pacific Ocean with islands. Also included are the tracks of the major navigators of the era including Mendana 1595, Quiros 1606, Le Maire and Schouten 1616, Tasman 1642 and Bougainville 1768, Furneaux, Wallis & of course Capt James Cook. Included are the dates of their voyages, ships tracks are particularly noted around the Antarctic Circle with notations of ice fields seen during the voyages. Cook's tracks are shown along with those of Tasman, Byron, Mendana, Bougainville, Bouvet, Halley, Wallis, Furneaux, Carteret, Schouteen and Quiros.
Cook was recognized by his contemporaries as a highly competent navigator and scientific observer. The map clearly details his departure from the more established routes crossing the Pacific at a higher latitude, making it inevitable that he reached New Holland's east coast. Note the more northerly route taken by Cooks predecessors through calmer waters, thus missing the prize of the east coast of Australia. Shortly after the return of the Cook expedition (3rd) to England, copies of the engravings were smuggled out to Paris and a French issue of the third voyage was published in Paris, 1785. The engravings by Webber (Official artist of the voyage) were used by the French engraver Benard, with French titles substituted. These were of equal quality to the English edition, on good strong hand-made paper. Many of the views are the first ever seen in Europe of the Pacific Islands. The first printed account of the first voyage under Cook's command was this anonymously published work. Surreptitiously edited and printed by Thomas Becket only two months after the expedition returned to England, it was published almost two years before the official account by John Hawkesworth appeared. As described on the title page, the book related "various occurrences of the voyage, with descriptions of several new discovered countries in the southern hemisphere." The work also provided much information about the native inhabitants encountered on the voyage, including "a concise vocabulary of the language of Otahitee" [Tahiti]. The text was quickly disseminated with a second English edition published in Dublin as well as translations into German and French the following year. French editions were also printed in 1773, 1777, 1782, and 1793. (Ref Tooley M&B)
General Description: Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable Paper color: - off white Age of map color: - Colors used: - General color appearance: - Paper size: - 22 1/2in x 22 1/2in (575mm x 575mm) Plate size: - 21 1/2in x 21 1/2in (545mm x 545mm) Margins: - 1/2in (12mm) Imperfections: Margins: - None Plate area: - Folds as issued Verso: - None