This "Chart of the Pacific Ocean" is from the Spanish chart captured by Commodore George Anson, R.N., in "HMS Centurion" on June 19, 1743, from the Spanish Galleon "Nuestra Senora de Cobondonga" in waters near Cape Espiritu Santo, Samar, east of the Philippines, on the Acupulco Galleon's annual voyage from Mexico to Manila. At that time, Britain and Spain were again at war. This was the first time a British naval squadron had entered the Pacific. The ship's treasure, captured by Anson, was one of the great naval prizes of all time. This captured chart was the British Navy's first naval chart "of all the ocean".
This fine colored chart is found on page 385 in the quarto edition of the official account of "A Voyage Round the World by George Anson, Esq.", fifth edition, published by Knapton in London, 1749. Anson had the chart copied in English and "corrected in some places by our own observations". Anson's capture of this chart was "of greatest importance, as no observations of this kind in the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean have yet, to my knowledge, been published". The chart shows the route of the annual Acapulco Galleon's voyage from Mexico, approximately due west from Acapulco to Manila; and the return track, by the northern route, following the tradewinds back to Mexico. Anson crossed the Pacific, went to Macao to refit, and returned to the east of the Philippines where the Acapulco Galleon was surprised, captured and taken to Macao (and eventually to England).
The Galleon's track and Anson's western track both pass to the south of the location of the Hawaiian Islands (then unkown), and the Galleon's return track passes to the north of the location of the Hawaiian Islands. Captain Cook discovered Hawaii in 1778, 35 years after this chart was captured. The islands shown on the Spanish chart in the eastern Pacific, "La Mesa" and others, do not exist (some historians believe that these actually represent the Hawaiian Islands, purposely misplaced by the Spanish to mislead anyone capturing their secret chart).
This is a rare and beautiful chart in original color and excellent condition. It is from a scarce and important edition of "Anson's Voyage", sought by collectors because of the fine colored plates.
Size: map 11-1/4" x 35-1/4", framed 24-1/4" x 48-1/4"
Media: Copperplate engraving
This work of art is currently framed