Exploration & Discovery Historical Travel Cultural Encounter
The Journal of the Hakluyt Society publishes occasional articles in electronic form only, with a single hard copy maintained for archival purposes. Its articles are peer reviewed to ensure that they conform to a high standard of scholarship. Appropriate to the charitable status and primary objectives of the Society, the entire text of the Journal is made available here for free download. However, it must be appreciated that copyright exists on all articles and resides with the Hakluyt Society, or possibly in part with the author.
Celebrating the life and work of Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
Captain M. K. Barritt, RN: Matthew Flinders’s Survey Practices and Records March 2014
The quantity of original material in the form of journals, record books and manuscript charts arising from Matthew Flinders’s voyaging around Australia is unmatched in the period, largely as a result of the explorer's enforced isolation on "Île de France" ("Mauritius"). In this article Captain Barritt, a former Hydrographer of the Navy, draws on the numerous documents preserved in the National Archives and UK Hydrographic Office, including the so-called 'Bearing Book', to provide a critical, in-depth appraisal of Flinders's survey methods [PDF: full text, maps & tables, 15 pages. 754 KB]
Dany Bréelle: Matthew Flinders’s Australian Toponymy and its British Connections November 2013.
In 1814 Matthew Flinders completed his huge mission, the charting of Australia, with the publication of the Atlas of Terra Australis, and the two volumes of the Voyage to Terra Australis that he drafted from his journals.
This paper focuses on the Australian place names given by Flinders as they appear in these publications.
They are analysed statistically with regard to those involved in the voyage, and the structures and knowledge that characterised Flinders’s time. They attest to Flinders’s concern to select descriptive toponyms that were not only useful for navigation, but also to thank the officials, officers and friends helpful to him, and to defend British territorial interests in Australia against the French. The major geopolitical issues of the beginning of the nineteen century, the role of the Admiralty and East India Company, the status of the men of science, the wars against France, and the colonization of Australia, emerge from Flinders’s nomenclature. [PDF: full text, maps & graphs, 41 pages. 1.35MB]
Index & Abstracts, 2007-2013
Bernard Stonehouse and Caroline Gunn: The Arctic Whaling Logs of Captain George Palmer, 1820-33 April 2013.
George Palmer, master of the Arctic whaling ship Cove, sailed annually from Newcastle to the Davis Strait whaling grounds from 1815 to 1833. Fourteen consecutive log books survive of his voyages from 1820 onwards, and these are currently being studied. This paper sets the voyages in the context of the industry as a whole, based on statistics recently derived mainly from two previously unpublished sources: (a) customs returns tabled annually in the House of Lords, 1754-1824, and (b) voyages from all the whaling ports, 1814-42, based on customs returns, listed by William Coltish. [PDF: full text, illustrations, maps & tables. 10 pages. 2MB]
Derek Massarella: The Japanese Embassy to Europe (1582-1590) February 2013.
The lecture delivered by Professor Massarella on 13 December 2012 at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation to launch the publication of Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth-Century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590). The lecture provides an insight into the historical background to the work, the one-time flourishing Jesuit mission in Japan, the remarkably successful tour of the young Japanese legates through European countries and ultimately to Rome, and the events that followed. [PDF: full text with copious endnotes. 12 pages. 131KB]
Stefan Dietrich: Flying a kite and catching fish in the Ternate panorama of 1600 August 2012.
The account of the first Dutch visit to the Moluccas (1599) includes a plate showing a panorama of the island of Ternate. It contains not only the earliest representation of kite-fishing, a technique specific to Indonesia, Micronesia and the South-West Pacific, but also the earliest European depiction of the flying of a plane kite. The paper thoroughly examines the ethnographic significance of this often overlooked detail and places it firmly in both its Eastern and Western historical contexts. The author also presents an intriguing discussion of the numerous adaptations of this well-known panorama that appeared in later editions of the original account, including the extensively edited version used by Bolton Corney (Hakluyt Society, 1855) which appears to have been contrived to illustrate not a Dutch voyage but that of Henry Middleton. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 30 pages. 2537KB]
Download - (This article includes high-resolution images which may be enlarged in Adobe PDF Reader to show detail.)
Pierre Schneider: The Discovery of Tropical Mangroves in Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Science and Wonder February 2011
Mangrove forests are seriously endangered and have recently become the focus of considerable attention. While nowadays ecological and biological questions tend to predominate, few scholars have paid attention to the discovery of mangrove in the Graeco-Roman period. In this article the author examines where and when mangroves were observed by the Greeks and the Romans during their early voyages in the Indian Ocean, and he demonstrates the remarkable degree of scientific accuracy achieved in the writings of Theophrastus and in the observations of the associates of Alexander the Great. The author helps us to understand the major features of the mangrove as a landscape from the Graeco-Roman point of view. [PDF: full text. 15 pages 189KB]
Download - Map and illustrations to accompany this article [PDF: 3 pages 1.5MB]
Robin M. Rondeau: The wrecks of Franklin’s ships Erebus and Terror; their likely location and the cause of failure of previous search expeditions March 2010.
Since the loss of the Franklin Expedition (1845-8) numerous attempts have been made to ascertain what became of Franklin’s men and their ships Erebus and Terror. Most search efforts, especially those in recent years, have focused on areas south of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. This paper provides evidence that those looking for Franklin’s ships have been looking in the wrong place, and that both the Erebus and Terror most likely lie in Larsen Sound to the north of King William Island where nobody has searched before. [PDF: full text, map & illustrations. 11 pages. 441KB]
C. Ian Jackson: William Scoresby the Scientist January 2010
Between the years 1811 and 1820, William Scoresby the Younger undertook nine whaling voyages into the far North Atlantic. His journals, recently edited for the Society by Dr Jackson in three volumes, are rich in scientific observation. In this paper, based on the text of the author's talk at the Whitby Museum at the launch of the third volume, Dr Jackson focuses on Scoresby's standing as a scientist and his considerable contribution to the marine science, geography and oceanography of the far north. [PDF: full text & illustration. 9 pages. 335KB]
Captain Richard Campbell, RN: The Voyage of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Southern and Antarctic Regions. Captain James Clark Ross, R.N. 1839-1843. The Journal of Sergeant William K. Cunningham, R.M. of HMS Terror April 2009
Abstract: This substantial paper presents for the first time the entire journal of Quartermaster Sergeant William Cunningham, who sailed in the Terror on the expedition of James Clark Ross to the Antarctic in 1839-43, its purpose being to locate accurately the position of the South Magnetic Pole. The editor provides a copiously annotated transcript of the journal, illustrated with maps, plates and photographs, together with an abundance of supplementary material in which he discusses the historical background to the voyage, the questions of terrestrial magnetism, and the problems of compass navigation. The journal, written from the perspective of a common seaman, complements Ross's official account of the voyage and provides historians of Antarctica with a wealth of additional information.
The paper is presented here in three parts for ease of download:
Part 1. Introductory chapters. Historical background. The voyage & its objectives. Magnetism & the compass. Glossary of nautical terms. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 37 pages. 625KB] Download
Part 2. The journal [PDF: full text, maps & illustrations. 114 pages. 2803KB] Download
Part 3. Appendices & bibliography [PDF: full text. 33 pages. 240KB] Download
Glenn M. Stein & Lydia I. Iarukova: Polar Honours of the Russian Geographical Society 1845-1995 December 2008
In this paper the authors present, for the first time in English, an overview of Russian polar exploration and research (almost exclusively Arctic) through a study of medals awarded by the Russian Geographical Society, their recipients and achievements, during the period of 1845-1995. Fully illustrated with photographs of the medals, and annotated with biographical notes on the medals' recipients, the paper brings to light the names of many illustrious Russian scientists and explorers commonly overlooked in Western literature. [PDF: full text & illustrations 38 pages. 655KB]
William Battersby: Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition September 2008
Since 1982, signs of a high exposure to lead have been identified in the human remains of members of John Franklin’s expedition to the Arctic, 1845-8. Tinned food has been suggested as the source of this lead. This paper provides evidence that the primary source of this lead was not tinned food, which was in widespread use in the Royal Navy at the time, but the unique water system fitted to the expedition’s ships. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 10 pages. 353KB]
Fred Swart: The Circumnavigation of the Globe by Pieter Esaiasz. de Lint 1598-1603 January 2007
Pieter de Lint sailed from Holland in September 1598 as captain of the yacht Eendracht in the fleet of Olivier van Noort. Appointed captain of the Hendrick Frederick in the Strait of Magellan, he subsequently became separated from the fleet and, after calling at various ports along the coast of South America, made his own way across the Pacific to arrive at Ternate early in 1601. De Lint’s voyage and the major role he played in ensuring the financial success of the mission have never, until now, been properly documented. Working from primary sources in both Dutch and Spanish, Mr Swart accurately reconstructs the route and events of De Lint’s little known voyage, and the negotiations that followed its successful arrival in the Spice Islands. [PDF: full text. 21 pages]
Peter de Clercq: The Life and Work of E.G.R. Taylor (1871-1966), author of The Mathematical Practitioners of Tudor and Stuart England and The Mathematical Practitioners of Hanoverian England February 2007
Eva Taylor was professor of geography at Birkbeck College, University of London, from 1930 to 1944, the first woman to hold a chair of geography in the United Kingdom. She joined the Council of the Hakluyt Society in the early 30s, continued her researches well into her 80s, and was responsible for editing four of the Society’s volumes. The article describes the life of this remarkable scholar and provides a thorough assessment of her considerable contribution to the history of geography and navigation. [PDF: full text. 13 pages]
James McCarthy: Selim Aga: New Light on his Life and his Explorations in West Africa July 2007
Selim Aga, a freed Nuba slave who received his education in Scotland and became a proficient writer and lecturer, is better known to many as Richard Burton's manservant in West Africa. James McCarthy, author of the only book-length biography of Selim Aga, presents new findings on Selim's subsequent life and travels in West Africa, his role in the Baikie expedition, his offer to seek out information regarding the fate of Eduard Vogel, and his explorations in Liberia and on the upper Niger. [PDF: full text. 7 pages]
Download - A number of illustrations have been provided by Mr McCarthy to accompany this article and are available by clicking here.
Fred Swart: Lambert Biesman (1573-1601) of the Company of Trader-Adventurers, the Dutch Route to the East Indies, and Olivier van Noort’s Circumnavigation of the Globe December 2007
In the second of his two articles on early Dutch voyages of discovery, Mr Swart provides an eminent account of the voyage of Cornelis de Houtman to the East Indies (1595-97) and the circumnavigation of Olivier Van Noort (1598-1601). The article draws on archival material and unpublished letters to focus on the life of Lambert Biesman, a young volunteer who played a significant role in both voyages until his capture and execution at Manila in 1601. [PDF: full text. 31 pages]