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1798 Vancouver Map of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Washington (1871 reissue)


1798 Vancouver Map of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Washington (1871 reissue)




A Chart Shewing part of the Coast of N.W. America, with the tracks of His Majesty's Sloop Discovery and Armed Tender Chatham;; Commanded by George Vancouver Esq. and prepared under his immediate inspection by Lieut. Joseph Baker in which the Continental Shore has been traced and determined from Lat: 46.30 N. and Long236.12 E. to Lat: 52.15 N. and Long . 232.40 E. at the different periods shown by the Tracks.
  1871 (undated)     30.5 x 22 in (77.47 x 55.88 cm)


This is a hand colored 1871 reissue of what is considered to be the great navigator George Vancouver's most important and influential map detailing the northwest coast of America. Originally issued in 1798, Vancouver's map covers from Cape Lookout (modern day Oregon) northwards past the Columbia River, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Sound, to Cape Swaine (Alaska). This beautifully drawn map features a number of notable firsts, including the first published map of the Puget Sound, the first mapping of Vancouver as an Island, and the first mapping of the Johnston Strait. Mount Rainier, Mt. St. Helene, Mount Baker are all noted. Inset maps in the upper right quadrant detail Cape Gray and Port Discovery. Another inset in the lower left quadrant focuses on the mouth of the Columbia River, soon to become a major artery for the fur trade.


George Vancouver (June 22, 1750 - May 10, 1798) was a British naval officer and explorer active in the late 18th century. Vancouver was the last of the great naval explores of the 18th century and, along with Captain James Cook and Perouse, is credited with the first accurate mapping of the Northwest Coast of America. Vancouver was born in King's Lynn, England and joined the Royal Navy at age 13 as a seaman. While little is known of Vancouver's early life, he first appears in the annals of history as a midshipmen aboard the HMS Resolution of Captain Cook's second voyage in search of Terra Australis. On this expedition Vancouver claimed to have "been nearer the south pole than any other man" (after climbing the bowsprit before the ship turned back in the face of mountains of Antarctic ice). He also accompanied the third Cook expedition as a midshipman on the HMS Discovery where he witnessed the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands as well as Cooks tragic death on those same islands. Returning to England under Cook's second, Captain Clerke recommended Vancouver for promotion to Lieutenant. Under his new commission he spent several years learning surveying in the Caribbean aboard the HMS Martin, where he also distinguished himself in a number of military altercations with the French. In 1790 Vancouver received an appointment as the Captain of the HMS Discovery and was commissioned to complete the exploration of American's Northwest Coast begun by Cook and Perouse. Between 1791 and 1795 Vancouver's remarkable diligence and attention to detail created the first truly accurate cartographic picture of the American Coast between San Francisco Bay and California. Vancouver was the first to map countless rivers and inlets and to identify Vancouver Island. During his four years of exploration he also spent three winters in Hawaii, creating in the process the first accurate map of the islands. Unlike many earlier explorers Vancouver generally maintained good and respectful relations with the indigenous peoples he encountered. In Hawaii Vancouver allegedly negotiated the cession of Hawaii to England as well as introduced beneficial flora and fauna to the archipelago. Vancouver returned to England in 1795 where he immediately ran afoul of the powers that be. During his voyages Vancouver excited the ire of more than one crew member, including the well-connected naturalist Archibald Menzies, the sailing master Joseph Whidbey, and Thomas Pitt, the powerful Baron of Camelford. Slandered and assaulted by these influential enemies, one of Britian's greatest explorers fell into obscurity. He died shortly after in 1798 and was buried in an unremarkable grave at St. Peter's Churchyard, Petersham, Surrey, England. The journals of Vancouver's expedition, as well as his all-important maps, were published posthumously in the same year as his death. Robin Fisher, the academic Vice President of Mount Royal University in Calgary and author of two books on Vancouver, writes:

He [Vancouver] put the northwest coast on the map...He drew up a map of the north-west coast that was accurate to the 'nth degree,' to the point it was still being used into the modern day as a navigational aid. That's unusual for a map from that early a time.
Today Vancouver is memorialized by Vancouver Island, which he discovered, the Hudson Bay Company's Fort Vancouver, the city of Vancouver, Vancouver Peninsula Australia, Mount Vancouver, the 8th highest mountain in Canada, Vancouver Bay in Jervis Inlet, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. For his 250th birthday, the Canada Post issued a special postage stamp in his honor.


Very good. Minor wear on original fold lines. Blank on verso.


Storm, C., A Catalogue of the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana, 4456. Howes, W., U.S.iana (1650-1950: A Selective Bibliography in which are Described 11,620 Uncommon and Significant Books Relating to the Continental Portion of the United States, V23. Sabin, J., Biblioteca Americana. A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from its Discovery to Present Time, (29 vols) 98443. Wagner, H. R., The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800 (2 vols), 853-860. Rumsey 3354.005 (English Edition),0233.007 (1828 edition). Falk, M. W., Alaskan Maps: A Cartobibliography of Alaska to 1900, #1799-7; Hayes, D., Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of Exploration and Discovery: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Yukon, #148.