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Aaron Arrowsmith's Large Chart of the Indian Ocean.

Aaron Arrowsmith's exceptionally rare chart of the Indian Ocean, published in four sheets, but here with only three present.


Replete with information about prevailing winds and monsoons.

Struggle for Control of the Indian Ocean During the Napoleonic War

During the Napoleonic War, the French navy was able to use its base at Mauritius to substantially harass British shipping from India. In 1808, four fleets of Indiamen left the British Isles for India to collect saltpeter for the Peninsular War

Source Material

Arrowsmith sites the voyages of General Coote, Alexander (1809), the Harcourt, and Bonaventura. He also credits information from D'après de Mannevillette's Supplement.


This chart is exceptionally rare, even by the standards of Arrowsmith charts, which are generally very scarce. We have found two examples of the 1802 (British Library and National Library of Scotland) and one example at UCLA of the 1812 (Charles Stuart de Rothesay Collection of Maps, 1715-1840).

No copies are traced at auction or in dealer catalogs.

Condition Description
Three of four sheets (lacking northwest sheet). Lower edge of northeast sheet with some expert restoration. Very good copies of the present sheets.
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.