This item has been sold, but you can enter your email address to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1886 Admiralty Nautical Chart of Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin, and Hainan, China

China Sea, Northern Portion, Western Sheet. - Main View

1886 Admiralty Nautical Chart of Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin, and Hainan, China


Depicts both Hong Kong and Macao.



China Sea, Northern Portion, Western Sheet.
  1886 (dated)     39 x 26.5 in (99.06 x 67.31 cm)     1 : 1500000


This is an 1886 British Admiralty nautical chart or maritime map of Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the South China Sea. The map depicts the region from Vinh, Vietnam to Hong Kong and from Pe-sé, China to Cape Padaran, Vietnam. Incredible detail is illustrated along the entire coastline. Myriad depth soundings are indicated, with the highest concentration appearing near Hong Kong and Macau. Coastal cities and towns are labeled, along with islands, bays, and points. Little inland detail is provided, with the exception of the courses of rivers. The Paracel Islands and the Macclesfield Bank in the South China Sea are both illustrated and labeled.
Publication History
This map was created by the British Admiralty and originally published under the superintendence of Captain Sir Frederick J. Evans in 1882, with corrections on this particular example dating to 1886.


The British Admiralty Office (1795 - Present) or the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office refers to the Branch of the English government that is responsible for the command of the British Navy. In 1795 King George III created the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, known in short as the U.K.H.O., to provide top notch nautical charts to the vast Royal Navy. Prior the founding of the Admiralty the surveying and creation of nautical charts was primarily a commercial venture wherein the cartographer himself, more of than not, actually financed the printing of his own material. The great navigator Cook himself is known to have scrambled for funds to publish his own seminal charts - the most important and advanced of the period. The system of privately funded nautical mapping and publishing left vast portions of the world uncharted and many excellent charts unpublished. King George III, responding significant loss in trade revenue related to shipwrecks and delay due to poor charts, recognized the need for an institutionalized government sponsored cartographic agency - the Admiralty. The first head of the Admiralty, a position known as Hydrographer, was the important cartographer Alexander Dalrymple. Dalrymple started by organizing and cataloging obtainable charts before initiating the laborious process of updating them and filling in the blanks. The first official Admiralty Chart appeared in 1800 and detailed Quiberon Bay in Brittany. By 1808 the position of Hydrographer fell to Captain Thomas Hurd. Hurd advocated the sale of Admiralty charts to the general public and, by the time he retired in 1829, had issued and published some 736 charts. Stewardship of the organization then passed to Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. It was under Beaufort's administration that the Admiralty truly developed as a "chart making" as opposed to a "chart cataloging" institution. Beaufort held his post from 1829 to 1854. In his 25 years at the Admiralty Beaufort created nearly 1500 new charts and sponsored countless surveying and scientific expeditions - including the 1831 to 1836 voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. By 1855 the Admiralty's chart catalog listed some 1,981 charts. Learn More...

Captain Sir Frederick John Owens Evans (March 9, 1815 - December 20, 1885) was a career Royal Navy officer and hydrographer. Evans entered the navy in 1828 as a second-class volunteer. Evans served in on nine different ships before being named a master in 1841, aboard the HMS Fly. Evans and the crew of the Fly spent the next five years surveying the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Torres Straits. Evans returned to the south seas in 1847, when he arrived in New Zealand with orders to survey the Middle and South Islands. He served in the Baltic Sea during the Crimean War. In 1855, well-known for his scientific knowledge, Evans was named superintendent of the compass department of the navy. He was named chief naval assistant to the Hydrographer of the Admiralty in 1865 and succeeded him in 1874. Evans resigned his post as Hydrographer in 1884 and in 1885 was appointed one of the British delegates to the International Meridian Conferenced in Washington, D.C. He died at his residence in London on December 20, 1885. Evans married Elizabeth Mary Hall on November 12, 1846. Learn More...


Very good. Even overall toning. Light soiling. Blank on verso.