Used During the California Gold Rush!
Heavily annotated example of Vancouver's chart of the California Coastline, including inset maps of San Francisco and San Diego.
This detailed chart of the coast of California was originally prepared by George Robinson in London to illustrate the first edition of Vancouver's Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean…published in London. The map is the first large format map to focus on the Coastline of California drawn from scientific Surveys.
Vancouver's voyage to the Northwest Coast of America is best described as the last major exploration of the North Pacific. Thereafter, subsequent discoveries were primarily incidental to voyages in pursuit of commerce and fur trade. Vancouver began his career as a midshipman on James Cook's second expedition.
The present chart is linen backed and separately issued, and includes extensive navigation and other annotations by one or more early owners, likely about the time of the California Gold Rush.
Among the annotations are what appears to be sailing tracks between the San Diego and Santa Barbara areas, along with three compass drawings and and extensive grid.
These annotations also include the addition of seveal missions (San Luis Obispo and San Miguel), the addition a builiding at the Mission Santa Cruz, the addition of the island of San Nicholas in the Channel Islands. In each of the two insets of San Diego and San Francisco, a note referencing "High waters full and change at ...", with a note that the San Francisco observation was taken at Fort Point.
In 1769 Spain occupied the San Francisco area and by 1776 had established the area's first European settlement, with a mission and a presidio. To protect against encroachment by the British and Russians, Spain fortified the high white cliff at the narrowest part of the bay's entrance, where Fort Point now stands. The Castillo de San Joaquin, built in 1794, was an adobe structure housing nine to thirteen cannons.
Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, gaining control of the region and the fort, but in 1835 the Mexican army moved to Sonoma. On July 1, 1846, after the Mexican-American War broke out between Mexico and the United States, U.S. forces, including Captain John Charles Fremont, Kit Carson and a band of 10 followers, captured and occupied the empty castillo and spiked (disabled) the cannons.
Following the United States' victory in 1848, California was annexed by the U.S. and became a state in 1850. Military officials soon recommended a series of fortifications to secure San Francisco Bay. Coastal defenses were built at Alcatraz Island, Fort Mason, and Fort Point.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on Fort Point in 1853.
George Vancouver (1757–1798), a naval officer and explorer, grew up in King’s Lynn, England, the youngest of six children. After entering the Royal Navy in 1771, he served in both the second and third great exploratory voyages of James Cook. During Cook’s second voyage, a three-year quest to find a legendary southern continent, Vancouver received instruction from the astronomer William Wales. During Cook’s third voyage, to the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver was part of the first known group of Europeans to land on the coast of present-day British Columbia.
Vancouver gained valuable navigational, surveying, and mapping experience in the Pacific Northwest during his time with Cook. After returning from Cook’s third voyage in 1780, Vancouver was promoted to lieutenant and spent the following nine years serving on fighting ships, primarily in the Caribbean.
In 1790, Vancouver was chosen to captain the Discovery and charged with a mission to discover and chart the vast areas of the Pacific that were still unknown, in part to locate a Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This four-year voyage of discovery circumnavigated the globe and eliminated the possibility of an inland Northwest Passage. During many months of surveying, Vancouver produced detailed regional maps of the Northwest Coast, as far north as Alaska. He also established several hundred place-names for physical features in the areas surveyed.
Upon returning to England in 1795, Vancouver’s voyage received little recognition, and he faced personal and political attacks from colleagues and crew members alleging abuse of power. With his health failing, Vancouver spent his remaining years in retirement, revising his journal for publication. His Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World was first published in 1798, which was also the year of his death. It contained a multi-volume account of his voyage as well as an atlas of his maps. His exploration and mapmaking activities greatly increased knowledge of the North American coast.