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One of the Earliest Obtainable Maps of Hawaii -- Based Upon Cook's Discoveries

Striking full-color example of Cook's first map of Hawaii, showing Cook's tracks through the Islands, including dates, topographical features of the islands, and a large inset of Karakakooa Bay.

Cook left Hawaii in 1779, after coasting most of the major islands and having done a remarkably accurate job of mapping the islands for a first visit. The great debate regarding this map is whether the work was done by Henry Roberts or William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty Fame. While the text of the Official Account of Cook's Third Voyage credits Henry Roberts as the surveyor and maker of the charts, the British Hydrographical Office copy of the Official Account includes a manuscript annotation in Henry Bligh's own hand, wherein Bligh claims to have been the maker of this map and to have constructed the maps of Hawaii.

The present example appeared in Bonne's Atlas Supplement, published in Paris in 1787, which includes many of the maps derived from Cook's three voyages in Volume II.

Rigobert Bonne Biography

Rigobert Bonne (1727-1794) was an influential French cartographer of the late-eighteenth century. Born in the Lorraine region of France, Bonne came to Paris to study and practice cartography. He was a skilled cartographer and hydrographer and succeeded Jacques Nicolas Bellin as Royal Hydrographer at the Depot de la Marine in 1773. He published many charts for the Depot, including some of those for the Atlas Maritime of 1762. In addition to his work at the Depot, he is  best known for his work on the maps of the Atlas Encyclopedique (1788) which he did with Nicholas Desmarest. He also made the maps for the Abbe Raynals’ famous Atlas de Toutes Les Parties Connues du Globe Terrestre (1780).

More than his individual works, Bonne is also important for the history of cartography because of the larger trends exemplified by his work. In Bonne’s maps, it is possible to see the decisive shift from the elaborate decorations of the seventeenth century and the less ornate, yet still prominent embellishments of the early to mid-eighteenth century. By contrast, Bonne’s work was simple, unadorned, and practical. This aesthetic shift, and the detail and precision of his geography, make Bonne an important figure in mapping history.