1858 Wüllerstorf-Urbair Map of Nangcovri Harbor, Indian Ocean, 'Novara' Expedition

Nangcovri Hafen / [Nangcovri Harbor]. - Main View

1858 Wüllerstorf-Urbair Map of Nangcovri Harbor, Indian Ocean, 'Novara' Expedition


A Harbor in the Nicobars.


Nangcovri Hafen / [Nangcovri Harbor].
  1858 (dated)     20 x 22 in (50.8 x 55.88 cm)     1 : 20500


This is a rare 1858 Baron Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair map of Nancowry Harbor, one of several maps the Indian Ocean drawn by the 1857 - 1859 Novara Expedition. This map includes a brief legend noting longitude, latitude, and units of measurement ('Viennese feet'), as well as common elements of maps in this series, such as numbers on the map indicating the hourly speed of the current in stagnant or falling water.
The Nicobar Islands and Nancowry Harbor
The Nicobar Islands are in the eastern Indian Ocean, close to the island of Sumatra and just south of the Andaman Islands. They were included in the Mao Kun map of the Zheng He Voyages (鄭和航海圖) of the early 17th century. Various colonial powers tried to lay claim to the islands, including Austria in the 1770s - 1780s, and, most successfully, the Danish, who saw the islands as an extension of their trading colony at Tranquebar on the Indian subcontinent. As a result, the Danes had done the most extensive mapping of the islands prior to the Novara.

Nancowry Harbor is formed by the joining of the islands of Nancowry (Nangcovri), Camorta, and Trinkat (Trinkut). This map is particularly focused on the settlements (Dorf) around the harbor, some of which still retain the names marked here (Itoe/Itoi, Bajuha/Payuha), as well as the supposed last post of the Danish, who had effectively abandoned the Nicobars a decade earlier after repeated outbreaks of malaria. The map also records the point where a 'Malaysian coaster' anchored (Ankerplatz der malaysischen Küstenfahrer), an intriguing reference and perhaps the origin of the name of the contemporary nearby village of Malacca.
The Novara Expedition of 1857 - 1859
The Austrian Navy frigate Novara under the command of Baron Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair circumnavigated the globe between April 30, 1857 and August 26, 1859. The ambitious voyage was primarily of a scientific nature and the ship carried several well-known scientists, including a geologist, an ethnologist, and a zoologist. It had the support of high-level Austrian nobles, officials, and scientists, such as Alexander von Humboldt. Many items collected on the voyage were later housed in museums in Vienna, especially the imperial Naturhistorisches Hofmuseum.

Aside from von Wüllerstorf-Urbair's own account of the voyage, mentioned below, a report stretching to 21 volumes on various aspects of the journey (zoology, anthropology, geology and paleontology, linguistics, etc.) was presented to the Viennese Academy of Sciences and published for the public. An abridged three volume account was also published by Dr. Karl von Scherzer in English and German and proved to be wildly popular. The long-term impact of the voyage was considerable, especially in the sciences. Among other results, Scherzer brought back to Austria an extensive collection of coca leaves that he gave to a graduate student, Albert Niemann, who was the first to isolate cocaine. In 2004, the Novara was featured on the 20 Euro coin.
Publication History and Census
This map was printed by the K.K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei (the Imperial Royal State Printing Office) and is attributed to Baron Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair. It also carries the seal of the Hydrographische Anstalt (Hydrographic Institute) in Vienna. Although it is dated as 1858 and usually cataloged as such, it likely was printed after the voyage's completion and is cataloged as anywhere between 1857 and 1865 by different institutions. It is held by several libraries and universities in Europe but is scarce to the market.


Baron Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair (January 29, 1816 – August 10, 1883) was an Austrian naval officer and later Minister of Trade. Wüllerstorf-Urbair was born in Trieste, then ruled by Austria, and later returned to Italy to manage the naval observatory in Venice. He was made captain and Commodore of the Novara for its 1857 – 1859 circumnavigation of the globe, which he wrote about in a book titled Journey of the Austrian Frigate Novara around the Earth in 1857, 1858, 1859 under the command of Commodore B. von Wüllersdorf-Urbair (German title Reise der oesterreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde…). Learn More...


Very good. Slight discoloration and wear along margins.


OCLC 1259514955, 860425741.