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1804 (1808) Aaron Arrowsmith

Fine example of Arrowsmith's map of America, in four sheets.

An excellent map of America on the eve of the explorations of Lewis & Clark, Humbolt. Pike, Long and others. The map reflects the updates in the Northwest Coast of America to account for the voyages of Cook, Vancouver, Mears, La Perouse and others. Arrowsmith drew from several sources whilst composing the map, most notably from Mackenzie's 1789 exploration of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Northwest, an account of which was subsequently produced in 1798. Mackenzie had been comissioned by the North-West Fur Company and, remarkably, traversed almost 3,000 miles in just 120 days. Early editions of this map, of which the present example is one, also act as a snap-shot of America before the exploration by Alexander von Humboldt. In later editions Arrowsmith incorporates many of Humbolt's findings.

The Missions in Upper California are named. The Missouri R. extends fare north of its true source and references Tall & Manders Indian Villages. Columbia R is similarly mislocated. Extensive forts in the Mississippi Valley. A fine depiction of the Americas, one year after the Louisiana Purchase and on the eve of the discovery of the Western parts of North America, Mexico's independence and the century of Revolution in South America.

Aaron Arrowsmith Biography

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) was born in Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith’s three shops were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer. Through his business ties and employment at the HO, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the HBC, and other companies. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King. He died in 1823, whereby the business passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John.