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Stock# 58275
Description

Scarce Italian published map of Alaska and the NW Coast of America and NE Coast of Asia, engraved to illustrate the Italian edition of the account John Meares Voyages to the Region.

The map tracks both the journeys of Captain James Cook's Voyage to the region in 1778 and 1779 and Meare's expedition through the region in 1788 and 1789.

In 1786, Captain John Meares (1746-1801) was sent from India by a group of merchants intending to enter the fur trade in America. Meares' ship was named the "Nootka" and upon reaching the Pacific Northwest coast he ran into two other British traders, Captains Dixon & Portlock who warned him off the coast as he didn't have a South Seas or an East India Company license, which were required by marine law for English ships trading in American and Asian waters.

Meares collected some furs which he traded in China after wintering in Hawaii. In 1788 Meares took off again, this time from Macao for the Pacific Northwest, in the ships "Iphigenia" and "Felice" both without licenses and flying the Portuguese flag. Arriving in Nootka he raised the British flag, claimed it for England and built a warehouse and a schooner which he named the "Northwest America."

Meares actions provoked the Spanish authorities who had also laid claim to the territory. After Meares departure, the Spanish seized Meares' remaining ships which almost started a war between England and Spain. After some negotiation, Spain agreed to provide compensation for the seized ships and the signing of the Nootka Convention of 1790, which recognized British rights to the region and disallowed Spanish claims to the northern territories.