1798 Laperouse & Mourelle Antique Early Map of Queensland, PNG, Fiji etc in 1781

Cartographer : Jean Francois La Perouse

  • TitleCarte D Une Partie Du Grand Ocean a l E. et S.E. de la Nouvelle Guinee pour l intelligence du Voyage de la Fregate Espagnole la Princesa commandee par D. Franco. Antonio Maurelle. en 1781..... Published as the (act) directs Novr. 1st 1798, by G.G. & J. Robinson
  • Ref #:  31555
  • Size: 16 3/4in x 11in (425mm x 280mm)
  • Date : 1798
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition

This large original copper plate engraved antique early map of Queensland, New Guinea, Fiji, French Polynesia & other South Pacific Islands - tracking the voyages of Francisco Antonio Mourelle in the region in 1781 was engraved in 1798 - dated - and was published in the 1st English edition of the Atlas du voyage de La Perouse G.G & J. Robinson, London in 1799.
La Perouse set sail from France in 1785 to continue the discoveries of Captain Cook. He was shipwrecked in 1788 but his narrative, maps, and views survived and were first published in 1797.

Interesting chart of Eastern Australia and part of the south-western Pacific, showing the routes taken by the Spanish explorer Don Francisco Antonio Maurelle in 1781 along the northern coast of New Guinea and across the Pacific to Fiji and Tonga, including a maunscript grid added in a contemporary hand.
Maurelle was credited with the discovery of the Hermit Islands on this voyage. The map includes the north-eastern coast of Australia, and parts of the coast of New Guinea. The map shows the 1781 route of his ship The Princesa through the Bismarck Archipelago north of New Guinea, through the Archipel de Salomos [i.e. Solomon Islands] and then east across the Pacific to the Iles de Amis [i.e. the Friendly Islands, now Tonga] where he discovered I. Vavao [ i.e. Vavau] with one of the best anchorages in the South Pacific.
The map includes the Iles de Navigateurs [i.e. Samoa], I. Fidji [i.e. Fiji], Iles de Esprit [i.e. Vanuatu or the New Hebrides Isles], and Nouvelle Caledonie [i.e. New Caledonia]. Many small islands are depicted with notes regarding their sightings by Abel Tasman, William Bligh and Maurelle.
A note on the chart states that the publisher has placed the islands according to the longitude of other navigators, rather than on Maurelles figures which were considered estimates only, and also, that Maurelles chart was based on a French chart by Jacques Nicolas Bellin published in 1742.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 16 3/4in x 11in (425mm x 280mm)
Plate size: - 16in x 10in (405mm x 255mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - Light age toning in margins
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

Mourelle de la Rúa, Francisco Antonio 1750 – 1820
Mourelle was a Galician naval officer and explorer serving the Spanish crown. He was born in 1750 at San Adrián de Corme (Corme Aldea, Ponteceso), near La Coruña, Galicia
1775 voyage Mourelle served the Spanish navy in the Guyanas, Trinidad, and the Antilles before becoming stationed at New Spain\'s Pacific Ocean naval base at San Blas, Mexico in 1774. He joined the 1775 expedition of Bruno de Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, serving as Quadra\'s pilot on the schooner Sonora. On July 29, at around 49 degrees north latitude, the Sonora became separated from Heceta\'s ship Santiago. Heceta soon returned south while Quadra and Mourelle continued north, eventually reaching 58 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. They found and anchored in Bucareli Bay. Then they sailed south, arriving at Monterey, California, on October 7, and San Blas on November 20, 1775.
Mourelle\'s journal was somehow taken clandestinely to London where it was translated and published. Captain James Cook made use of the information in Mourelle\'s journal during his travels in the Pacific Northwest.
1779 voyage Mourelle again served as the pilot of Quadra, and second in command of the ship Favorita, during the 1779 expedition commanded by Ignacio de Arteaga. Leaving San Blas on February 11, 1779, the expedition reached 61 degrees north and Hinchinbrook Island at the head of the Gulf of Alaska. From there they sailed southwest along the Kenai Peninsula. The ships returned to San Blas on November 21, 1779.
Later career During his service at San Blas, Mourelle traveled extensively throughout the Pacific Ocean. From 1781 on the La Princessa, he attempted to find a southern route from the Philippines to Mexico, mapping 29 of the 50 islands in the Hermit Islands, Ninigo Islands and Tench Island in New Guinea, and Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands . He visited Tonga and travelled through the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu). Keith S. Chambers and Doug Munro (1980) identify Niutao as the island that Mourelle named on May 5, 1781, thus solving what Europeans had called The Mystery of Gran Cocal. Due to contrary winds, he returned via Guam and took the northern route across the Pacific to Mexico. He was also familiar with the Philippines and Canton, China.
Mourelle was to command the Mexicana for a 1792 voyage to explore the Strait of Georgia but Alessandro Malaspina had one of his own officers, Cayetano Valdés, placed in command of the Mexicana. Dionisio Alcalá Galiano commanded the Sutil, the twin companion of the Mexicana.
Mourelle was transferred to Spain in 1793. He was promoted to frigate captain in the same year as the Action of 19 January 1799 where he took a leading role. He became ship\'s captain in 1806, and commodore in 1811. He commanded a squadron in 1818 that was to put down a rebellion in the Rio de la Plata, but the endeavor never got underway. Mourelle died on May 24, 1820, at the age of 64.