Sign In

Forgot Password Create Account
Description

Finely detailed chart of the Pearl River and "Lochs", illustrating the environs of Pearl Harbor, published by the  British Admiralty.

First issued in 1901, this chart includes major revisions to 1920 and smaller revisions to 1931.

The use of the term "Lochs" in connection with Pearl Harbor is quite unusual, although it also appears on a companion chart of the Hawaiian Islands, published by the Admiralty.

The Lochs of Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor was originally an extensive shallow area called Wai Momi (meaning, “Waters of Pearl”] or Puʻuloa (meaning, “long hill”). Puʻuloa was regarded as the home of the shark goddess, Kaʻahupahau, and her brother (or son), Kahiʻuka, in Hawaiian legends. According to tradition, Keaunui, the head of the powerful Ewa chiefs, is credited with cutting a navigable channel near the present Puʻuloa saltworks, by which he made the estuary, known as "Pearl River," accessible to navigation 

During the early nineteenth century, Pearl Harbor was not used for large ships. The interest of United States in the Hawaiian Islands grew as a result of its whaling, shipping and trading activity in the Pacific. As early as 1820, an "Agent of the United States for Commerce and Seamen" was appointed to look after American business in the Port of Honolulu.  

From the conclusion of the Civil War, to the purchase of Alaska, to the increased importance of the Pacific states, the projected trade with countries in Asia and the desire for a duty-free market for Hawaiian staples, Hawaiian trade expanded. In 1865, the North Pacific Squadron was formed to embrace the western coast and Hawaii. 

When King Lunalilo died in 1873, negotiations were underway for the cession of Pearl Harbor as a port for the duty-free export of sugar to the U.S. With the election of King Kalākaua in March 1874, riots prompted landing of sailors from USS Tuscarora and Portsmouth. The British warship, HMS Tenedos, also landed a token force. During the reign of King Kalākaua, the United States was granted exclusive rights to enter Pearl Harbor and to establish "a coaling and repair station."

Although this treaty continued in force until August 1898, the U.S. did not fortify Pearl Harbor as a naval base. As it had for 60 years, the shallow entrance constituted a formidable barrier against the use of the deep protected waters of the inner harbor.

The lochs (Lakes) of Pearl Harbor were utilized before American colonization. The were utilized by the locals for fishponds and pearl farming.

The first published description of the lagoon was in British Captain Nathaniel Portlock’s journal in 1789.  Pearl Harbor had been overlooked as the channel was too shallow for Western ships, only navigable by the swift and smaller canoes. It was not until the HMS Blonde captained by Lord Byron that a survey of the main channel and the three lochs were done by Lieutenant Charles R. Malden. Robert Dampier was also aboard the ship and completed these drawings of Pearl River. The HMS Blonde was returning the bodies of King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamāmalu, who had died from the measles in London.

The lochs included Loko Hānāloa, Loko Kukona, Loko Eo, Loko Laulaunui, and Loko Weloka.  

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.