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 British Admiralty:  The Sandwich Islands From Various But Imperfect Sources

Maps of Hawaii

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Title: The Sandwich Islands From Various But Imperfect Sources

Map Maker:  British Admiralty

Place / Date: London / 1843 (1871)

Coloring: Uncolored

Size: 24.5 x 18 inches

Condition: VG

Price: $3,400.00

Inventory ID: 40592


Highly detailed chart of Hawaii, first published in 1843 and revised to 1871.


The present chart includes inset maps of Hilo or Byron Bay by Lieutenant C.R. Malden, R.N. in 1825,  Kairua Bay, based upon the Surveys of Duperrey in 1819, and Honoruru Harbor (Honolulu), based upon the sruvyes of T.A. Hull in 1856, with corrections by G.H. Richards to 1863.


The 1843 chart was the first of the Admiralty's charts and was likely preceded only by Aaron Arrowsmith's Chart of the Hawaiian Islands.  As noted by Fitzpatrick:


The subtitle, “from various but imperfect authorities,” is a succinct acknowledgment of the problems facing mapmakers and navigators of the mid-19th century. The Hydrographic Office of the British Admiralty drew principally upon the chart by Joseph Baker in the 1790s when compiling this map of Hawaii, although later work by Charles Malden is evident in the portrayal of southern Oahu, and Edward Belcher in Hanalei Bay on Kauai. The inset of “Kairua Bay” shows that the British acknowledged the excellent work of Duperrey without being misled by the erroneous latitude and confusing name found on his chart of “Kayakakoua”.


In 1843 the British Admiralty published a chart of Hawaii Nei compiled from “various but imperfect authorities.” Compared to a modern map, it contains very “imperfect” representations of some islands, most notably the central ones of Molokai, Lanai, and Maui. The influence of Baker's chart is clearly seen in the rectangular shape of West Maui and the highly elongated peninsula marking the east end of Hilo Bay. The style of relief representation is also based on that found in Baker's chart, but the factual data regarding heights of the various mountains has been extracted from other sources.


Numerous corrections and additions were made, however. Southern Oahu shows the detailed survey work carried out by Malden. The large number of place names reflects the spellings used by the missionaries and on the Lahainaluna maps.


The map was certainly compiled from numerous sources, and it consequently incorporated a variety of errors. Rather than being a sign of shoddy mapmaking, these errors emphasize the problems faced by the cartographers of the period. There was really no way to tell where significant flaws existed in the various maps.


The chart is quite scarce.  OCLC locates no other examples.


Condition Description: Several minor marginal tears, just entering printed image.

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Maps of Hawaii
Maps of Hawaii