1774 Benard / Carteret View and Chart of Mas Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island), Chile

Vue du Côté N.O. de Masafuero. - Main View

1774 Benard / Carteret View and Chart of Mas Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island), Chile


Named for Selkirk, inspiration for Robinson Crusoe.


Vue du Côté N.O. de Masafuero.
  1774 (undated)     6.75 x 11.5 in (17.145 x 29.21 cm)     1 : 25861


This 1774 view and chart details Más Afuera Island (now Alejandro Selkirk Island), encountered on a 1766 - 1769 British voyage of circumnavigation captained by Philip Carteret. It was engraved by Robert Benard and published in the 1774 French translation of John Hawkesworth's An Account of the Voyages…, a very popular work which helped publicize British discoveries in the Pacific.
A Closer Look
Más Afuera lies in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, some 540 miles off the coast of Chile. Measuring about nineteen square miles, Más Afuera is a relatively young island (1-2 million years old), formed by a submarine shield volcano. It is densely wooded and craggy, with few places suitable for landing or anchorage.

This view is oriented towards the southeast, looking at the northwest side of the island. The moorings of the Swallow, Carteret's ship, are noted with soundings in all directions. A stretch of coral rock (rocher de corail) is indicated, as is a distinctive 'hole in the rock' on the south side of the island that could be used for bearings. An inset at bottom-left provides a view of the island at a greater distance (twenty-three leagues).
Alexander Selkirk
Some sixty years before Carteret sailed past the Juan Fernandez Islands, they had been home to a marooned sailor named Alexander Selkirk. Born in Scotland, Selkirk was a rebellious youth who escaped punishment for 'indecent conduct in church' by taking to a life on the seas, serving as a privateer for the English in the South Pacific. Following a dispute with his captain over the seaworthiness of their leaking ship, Selkirk was left on Más a Tierra (near Más Afuera) with some basic supplies. His fears about the ship proved were borne out, as it later foundered off the coast of Columbia and was captured by the Spanish.

As for Selkirk, he survived for over four years on the island, finding reliable supplies of food, building a cozy hut, and evading the occasional Spanish landing party, before he was rescued by another English privateer. He quickly returned to a life of privateering, but his remarkable story was soon recorded by fellow sailors and became well-known in England. He is believed to have been an important influence on Daniel Defoe's character Robinson Crusoe. In 1966, the Chilean government, seeking to draw tourists to the otherwise forgotten Juan Fernandez Islands, renamed Más a Tierra 'Isla Róbinson Crusoe' and Más Afuera 'Isla Alejandro Selkirk.'
Publication History and Census
This view was based on a drawing by Philip Carteret and was engraved by Robert Benard. It appeared as Plate 8 in Volume 1 of Relation des voyages entrepris par ordre de Sa Majesté Britannique, actuellement regnante, pour faire des découvertes dans l'hémisphère méridional, a 1774 French translation of the English-language book An Account of the Voyages… published the previous year by John Hawkesworth. The map is only independently cataloged in the holdings of the National Library of Australia, while the English-language original ('A View of the N.W. Side of Mas-A-Fuera') is held by the University of Kansas, the National Library of New Zealand, and the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Hawkesworth's entire text is more widely distributed in institutional holdings, though somewhat less so in the French translation.


Robert Bénard (1734 - c. 1785) was a French engraver. Born in Paris, Bénard is best known for supplying a significant number of plates (at least 1,800) for the Encyclopédie published by Diderot and Alembert. He also is remembered for his work with the Académie des Sciences, most notably the Descriptions des Arts et Métiers More by this mapmaker...

Philip Carteret, Seigneur of Trinity (January 22, 1733 - July 21 1796) was a British naval officer and explorer who participated in two of the Royal Navy's circumnavigation expeditions in 1764–66 and 1766–69. He served as a lieutenant aboard HMS Dolphin under Byron during his voyage of circumnavigation from June 1764 to May 1766. Later that year he was made commander and given the command of HMS Swallow to circumnavigate the world, as supporting HMS Dolphin under the command of Samuel Wallis. The two ships were separated after passing through the Strait of Magellan, but Carteret continued his circumnavigation aboard Swallow. During the voyage he discovered both Pitcairn Island and the Carteret Islands, which were subsequently named after him. In 1767, he discovered a new archipelago inside Saint George's Channel between New Ireland and New Britain Islands, and rediscovered the Solomon Islands first sighted by the Spaniard Álvaro de Mendaña in 1568, and the Juan Fernández Islands first discovered by Juan Fernández in 1574. Learn More...

John Hawkesworth (c. 1715 - November 16, 1773) was an English born writer and editor born London. Hawkesworth, who is said to have been self educated, succeeded Samuel Johnson as the parliamentary debate compiler for "Gentleman's Magazine". He was a deeply religious and moral map who brilliant defense of morality earned him an LL. D degree from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hawkesworth went on to publish a series of scholarly books and essays including a 12 volume edition of Jonathan Swift's work. In 1772 Hawkesworth was commissioned by the Admiralty to compile and edit James Cook's journals. The resultant work An Account of the Voyages undertaken ... for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere was one of the first ethnographic account of the South Seas and was widely published in England and abroad. Though highly influential, Hawkesworth's work received heavy criticism from scholars who claim that he liberally altered much of the text in the name of morality. Learn More...


Hawkesworth, John, Relation des voyages entrepris par ordre de Sa Majeste britannique actuellement regnante, (Paris: Chez Saillant et Nyon) 1774.    


Good. Discoloration along the centerfold. Repaired wormholes at top-center.


Rumsey 3403.011. OCLC 495044626.