The Discovery of the South Shetland Islands / The Voyage of the Brig Williams, 1819-1820 and The Journal of Midshipman C.W. Poynter, as recorded in contemporary documents and the Journal of Midshipman C W Poynter

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Author: Campbell, R. J. (editor)

Year: 2000

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: London


xv+248 pages with 16 colour plates (including frontispiece), 6 monochrome plates, 9 maps, appendices, bibliography and index. Small quarto (10" x 7") issued in original dark blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and pictorial representation of the ship Victoria blind stamped in gilt on the cover. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, Third Series, Number 4. Edited by R J Campbell. First edition.

In 1819 William Smith, with a general cargo from Montevideo to Valparaiso, sailed further south round Cape Horn than his predecessors, in the hope of finding favorable winds. He sighted land in 62 degrees South. His report to the Senior Naval Officer in Valparaiso was ridiculed, but on a subsequent voyage he confirmed his discovery, taking soundings and sailing along the coast. As a result Captain Shirreff, the Senior Naval Officer, charted his vessel, the brig Williams, and having put Edward Bransfield the master of his ship, HMS Andromache, in charge, sent her to survey the new discovery. Charles Poynter was one of the midshipmen who sailed with Bransfield. His account of this expedition, which forms the principal part of this volume, recently came to light in New Zealand, and is the only first-hand account of the voyage, during which the Antarctic mainland was sighted for the first time, that appears to have survived. The introduction contains some remarks on the South Shetland Islands, followed by chapters giving a brief look at the history of the Spanish in South America and the British presence in the area, together with the speculation leading to the search for Antarctica and chapters on early nineteenth-century navigation and hydrographic surveying. There were several second hand accounts of William Smith's earlier voyages, and Bransfield's expedition which appeared in reports, journals and books at the time. These are included with brief accounts of other voyages to the South Shetland Islands which took place while Bransfield was in the area, to complete the picture. Poynter's journal explains the reasoning behind most of the names given to land features, some of which were not included in the published accounts at the time. There are also three charts and a number of views which are reproduced and an assessment of the accuracy of this short but remarkable voyage to be made. Finally the chart published as a result of Barnsfield's survey is included.


A fine copy in like jacket.

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