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The First Modern Survey of Victoria and and Esquimault Harbors, British Columbia.

Rare British Admiralty, The Victoria and Esquimault Harbor, at a time of explosive growth in the region caused by the discovery of Gold in 1858 and the relocation of the British Royal Navy's Pacific Fleet to the harbors in 1865.

Includes a fine topographical and geographical view of the region, including 2 profile views. The earliest lighthouse is located at Fisgard Island, and the Town of Victoria is shown laid out. The English Royal Navy presence is meticulously detailed, as are the locations of many other important buildings, piers, roads, etc.

This is the second revised state of the map, which was first surveyed in 1861 and 1862, with the first edition of the chart issued October 15,1864 and revised in July 1865, as the British Royal Navy began to complete its relocation from Valparaiso, Chile, to Constance Cove.


In 1841 James Douglas was charged with the duty of setting up a trading post on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, upon the recommendation by George Simpson, that a new more northerly post be built in case Fort Vancouver fell into American hands. Douglas founded Fort Victoria, on the site of present-day Victoria, British Columbia, in anticipation of the outcome of the Oregon Treaty in 1846, extending the British North America/United States border along the 49th parallel from the Rockies to the Strait of Georgia.

When the crown colony was established in 1849, a town was laid out on the site and made the capital of the colony. The Chief Factor of the fort, James Douglas, was made the second governor of the Vancouver Island Colony (Richard Blanshard was first governor, Arthur Edward Kennedy was third and last governor).

When news of the discovery of gold on the British Columbia mainland reached San Francisco in 1858, Victoria became the port, supply base, and outfitting centre for miners on their way to the Fraser Canyon gold fields, mushrooming from a population of 300 to over 5000 literally within a few days. Victoria was incorporated as a city in 1862. In 1865, Esquimalt was made the North Pacific home of the Royal Navy, and remains Canada's west coast naval base. In 1866 when the island was politically united with the mainland, Victoria was designated the capital of the new united colony instead of New Westminster and became the provincial capital when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871.

Esquimalt History

The first Europeans to reach Esquimalt were the Spanish expedition of Manuel Quimper in the Princesa Real in 1790, with Gonzalo López de Haro and Juan Carrasco. Quimper entered and carefully mapped Esquimalt Harbor. Quimper claimed the region for Spain and placed a wooden cross on a hill. When the Spanish returned later that summer the cross had vanished. In 1792 Captain George Vancouver extensively explored the region. Following resolution of the Nootka Crisis, control of the region went to the British and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

In 1843, near the height of the Oregon question, the HBC was looking for a new location for its Pacific base of operations. John McLoughlin, the company's chief factor at Fort Vancouver, ordered James Douglas to build a new fort on Vancouver Island. Douglas liked Esquimalt Harbor, but chose a spot on the eastern shore of Victoria Harbor at the mouth of the Gorge Inlet. He called it Fort Camosun, but later renamed it Fort Victoria in honor of the British Queen.

Ships continued to use Esquimalt Harbor to load and offload passengers and supplies. In 1852, sailors from a British naval ship, HMS Thetis, built a trail through the forest linking Esquimault Harbor with Victoria Harbor.

The Hudson's Bay Company decided to try farming and Douglas leased all of Vancouver Island for seven shillings a year from Great Britain, and had a division of the HBC, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, come in to develop the land. The Viewfield farm was the first in 1850, with the Constance Cove farm and Craigflower farms added later. By the mid-1860s, the farms were considered failures and abandoned, and the property sold off in small parcels.

In 1855, the British Royal Navy constructed three hospital buildings on the harbor to treat casualties of the Crimean War. A small settlement grew up on the water's edge near the naval installation. But in 1858, the discovery of gold on the Fraser River triggered a massive influx of people, who came to Fort Victoria to buy permits and supplies before setting out for the mainland.

In 1865, the British Royal Navy relocated the headquarters of its Pacific fleet from Valparaíso, Chile, to the Esquimalt Harbor. In 1887, a military base was located at Work Point. In 1905, the Royal Navy abandoned the area, but the Pacific base of the new Royal Canadian Navy replaced it in 1910.


OCLC locates a single copy of the 1865 edition (British Library) and a single example of the 1882 edition (University of British Columbia).

OCLC locates a photocopy of the 1864 first state only (University of Victoria) .

British Admiralty Biography

The British Admiralty has produced nautical charts since 1795 under the auspices of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (HO). Its main task was to provide the Royal Navy with navigational products and service, but since 1821 it has also sold charts to the public.

In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple, a pedantic geographer, to consolidate, catalogue, and improve the Royal Navy’s charts. He produced the first chart as the Hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1802. Dalrymple, known for his sticky personality, served until his death in 1808, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas Hurd. The HO has been run by naval officers ever since.

Hurd professionalized the office and increased its efficiency. He was succeeded by the Arctic explorer Captain William Parry in 1823. By 1825, the HO was offering over seven hundred charts and views for sale. Under Parry, the HO also began to participate in exploratory expeditions. The first was a joint French-Spanish-British trip to the South Atlantic, a voyage organized in part by the Royal Society of London.

In 1829, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was appointed Hydrographer Royal. Under his management, the HO introduced the wind force scale named for him, as well as began issuing official tide tables (1833). It was under Beaufort that HMS Beagle completed several surveying missions, including its most famous voyage commanded by Captain FitzRoy with Charles Darwin onboard. When Beaufort retired in 1855, the HO had nearly two thousand charts in its catalog.

Later in the nineteenth century, the HO supported the Challenger expedition, which is credited with helping to found the discipline of oceanography. The HO participated in the International Meridian Conference which decided on the Greenwich Meridian as the Prime Meridian. Regulation and standardization of oceanic and navigational measures continued into the twentieth century, with the HO participating at the first International Hydrographic Organization meeting in 1921.

During World War II, the HO chart making facility moved to Taunton, the first purpose-built building it ever inhabited. In 1953, the first purpose-built survey ship went to sea, the HMS Vidal. Today, there is an entire class of survey vessels that make up the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron. The HO began to computerize their charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, the compilation staff also came to Taunton, and the HO continues to work from there today.