A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America by Lionel Wafer, Surgeon on Buccaneering Expeditions in Darien, the West Indies, and the Pacific from 1680 to 1688 With Wafer’s Secret Report (1698), and Davis’s Expedition to the Gold Mines

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Author: Lionel Wafer (1640–1705) edited by Lilian Elwyn Elliott Joyce

Year: 1933

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: London


lxxi+221 pages with frontispiece, 4 folding maps, illustrations, appendices, bibliography and index. Octavo (9" x 6") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt pictorial representation of the ship Victoria on the cover and edge ruled decorative blind stamp to covers in original jacket. Edited, with Introduction, Notes and Appendices, by L. E. Elliot Joyce. Second Series, Volume 73. First edition.

The text of the 1699 edition, with slight changes, and additional material.

Lionel Wafer was a Welsh explorer, buccaneer and privateer. A ship's surgeon, Wafer made several voyages to the South Seas and visited Maritime Southeast Asia in 1676. In 1679 he sailed again as a surgeon, soon after settling in Jamaica to practice his profession.

In 1680, Wafer was recruited by buccaneer Edmund Cooke to join a privateering venture under the leadership of Captain Bartholomew Sharp, where he met William Dampier at Cartagena. After being injured by a flash-ignition of gunpowder during an overland journey, Wafer was left behind with four others in the Isthmus of Darien in Panama, where he stayed with the Cuna Indians. He gathered information about their culture, including their shamanism and a short vocabulary of their language. He studied the natural history of the isthmus. The following year, Wafer left the Indians promising to return and marry the chief's sister and bring back dogs from England. He fooled the buccaneers at first as he was dressed as an Indian, wearing body-paint and ornamented with a nose-ring. It took them some time to recognize him.

Wafer reunited with Dampier, and after privateering with him on the Spanish Main until 1688, he settled in Philadelphia. By 1690 Wafer was back in England and in 1695 he published A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America, which described his adventures.


Jacket with edge chips and tears, spine heavily toned, spine ends chipped, quarter in chip at the middle of spine back edge else very good in a good jacket.

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