1784 Cook North Pacific Map


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Highly detailed chart of the North Pacific, based upon Cook’s map of 1784 & updated in 1794 to include information from Vancouver & MacKenzie.

This edition adds information from 18th Century Russian sources. One interesting feature is the supposed course of the Columbia extending due north into British Columbia. The map includes a nearly daily course of Cook’s voyage, details in Northern Canada and along the NW Coast of America, including the region explored by Vancouver, details on the NW Passage from Hans Sloan’s Japanese map of the world, information on certain arctic coastlines from Russian sources and many other annotations.

The basis for the map was Henry Roberts’ chart of 1784, produced under the supervision of James Cook. Roberts was an officer on Cook’s third voyage, and his charts provided the first accurate mapping of the northwest coast of North America, dispelling many of the fantastic theories that had plagued the region for years.

In 1794,  William Faden commissioned the engraver Louis Stanislas D’Arcy de la Rochette to update Roberts’ chart with new data gathered over the last decade. A note on the map states:

The Interesting Discoveries made by the British and American Ships, since the first Publication of this Chart in 1784, Together with the Hydrographical Materials, lately procured from St. Petersburg and other places, have enabled Mr. De la Rochette to lay down the Numerous Improvements which appear in the Present Edition.

In describing the first edition, Cohen & Taliaferro (Catalogue 62) note:

This legendary lost chart was drawn by Henry Roberts for the authorized atlas of Cook’s third voyage, but because of disputes among the editors, it was never included.  It is now known that the plate for Roberts’ chart, ” version more elaborate than that [included] in the authorized atlas” (Campbell), was purchased by Faden and published separately.  Th[e] exceptionally rare first state of  the Roberts-Faden chart is the first published map to show the discoveries of Samuel Hearne in the Canadian Arctic. . . .

Although a few examples of the chart were known, including one belonging to the great Americana collector, Thomas Streeter, its true importance was not recognized until 1985, when a proof copy was acquired by the British Library . . .

…the [map] includes a number of Alaskan place-names not found on the authorized version [in the account of Cook’s third voyage]. . .

This Roberts chart also contains informaiton on interior geography not included on the [official map].  The source for this information came from Samuel Hearne’s c.1772 manuscript map of the Coppermine River, in the possession of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and which had never before appeared in print.  The Company suppressed Hearne’s map to protect its interests in the north.  This was important information because Hearne’s map showed the impossibility of a Northwest Passage through Hudson’s Bay, and it is curious that the Company had not released it to settle arguments over a point that continued to occupy public attention. . .

Additional information

Standard Print Size & Type

12 x 16 Canvas, 16 x 20 Canvas, 16 x 20 Poster, 20 x 30 Canvas, 8 x 10 Canvas