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1873 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office Chart / Map of Florida and the Bahamas

The Bahama Banks and Gulf of Florida, Sheet 1. - Main View

1873 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office Chart / Map of Florida and the Bahamas


Enormous rare nautical chart detailing south Florida.



The Bahama Banks and Gulf of Florida, Sheet 1.
  1873 (dated)     39.5 x 50 in (100.33 x 127 cm)     1 : 910000


A most uncommon 1873 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office nautical chart or maritime map of Florida and the Bahamas. Coverage embraces the lower two-thirds of peninsular Florida, the Florida Strait as far as Cuba, and the northern Bahamas. An inset in the lower left details Key West and it's vicinity from the 1851 U.S. Cost Survey of J. R. Rodgers. The Bahamas are superbly detailed with thousands of soundings - underscoring the danger of navigating these shallow waters. This chart follows in the lineage of Edmund March Blunt's great chart of 1844 - and is indicative of that commercial cartographer's long-standing influence on official naval chart making.
Elliott's Beach - Miami
Where Miami now stands, on the mainland west of the Cape Florida Light, 'Elliots Beach' is labeled. Although no one knows for certain, it is believed that this was the camp used by surveyor Andrew Ellicott (1754 - 1820), a titanic figure in early American surveying who mapped the Florida coast around the turn of the 19th century. Elliot's Key, nearby, is also believed to be named after Ellicott - both sharing the same unfortunate error of the 'c' being omitted from the surveyor's name. Another theory suggests the name was an honorific to Gilbert Elliott, an English treasury official assigned by John Gerar William De Brahm (1711 -1799), who surveyed this coast in the 1760. We find this unlikely as we can find Elliott on none of De Brahm's maps while we can find a key in roughly the same location named after James Oswald, Elliott's chief rival in the royal court.
Publication History and Census
This chart was first published by the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office in 1868. It was updated in 1872 and again, as here in 1873. Rare. We note no examples of this chart in the OCLC and know of none in private hands.


The U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office (1830 - 1962) is a branch of the United States Navy founded in 1830 to compile non-domestic hydrographic and bathymetric surveys. These surveys are conducted by the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, which started with the establishment of the Depot of Charts and Instruments in 1830. In 1854 the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office was renamed the U.S. Naval Observatory and Hydrographical Office. The hydrographic portion became the U.S. Naval Hydrographic Office under the Hydrographer of the Navy. In 1962, under the Kennedy administration, the name was again changed to the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office in 1962. That office, as a matter of historical and semantic interest, and the U.S. Naval Observatory are still part of the command overseen by the "Oceanographer of the Navy" with headquarters at the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. Learn More...


Good. Laid down on fresh linen. Some scuffing. Minor dampstaining.