Chart of Norton Sound and of Bhering’s Strait made by the East Cape of Asia and the West Point of America


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“At daybreak on 7 March 1778, “the long looked for Coast of new Albion was seen” by Captain James Cook from the deck of the HMS Resolution. He had come with two ships and 150 men to the northwest coast of North America in search of a Northwest Passage to the Atlantic Ocean. For the next five months he sailed along the coast of present-day British Columbia and Alaska, exploring promising inlets and encountering numerous indigenous peoples. On 11 August, Cook sailed north through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean. Working his way along the coast of Alaska, his progress was halted a week later by “ice which was as compact as a Wall and seemed to be ten or twelve feet high at least.”

This marked the farthest north reach of Cook’s voyage at 70°44′ N latitude, just west of present-day Wainwright, Alaska. Retreating southward six leagues (about 18 miles), he encountered “a point which was much incumbered with ice for which Reason it obtained the name of Icey Cape” According to Beaglehole2 this is 18 August 1778, off Icy Cape, when Cook wrote, “Our situation was now more and more critical, we were in shoald water upon a lee shore and the main body of the ice in sight to windward driving down upon us. It was evident, if we remained much longer between it and the land it would force us ashore.” He turned westward, and for the next 11 days sailed close to the ice edge, trying to find an opening to the north. On 29 August having reached the coast of Siberia at 69° N without finding a break in the ice, he abandoned the search, since “so little was the prospect of succeeding.” He sailed south through the Bering Strait on 2 September.”

This delicately engraved map catalogs the epic discoveries made by Captain James Cook on his third voyage into the Pacific Ocean. The dated route can be traced across the coastline of modern-day Alaska and Russia from August of 1778 to August of 1779. Topography is depicted pictorially and various geographic features are labeled. Published in the Dublin edition of Cook’s Voyages around 1785.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1785

Author: Captain James Cook

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Condition: A-

Condition Description: Uneven margins, as issued, that show some moderate wear, a few small tears, and scattered spotting. The image is quite clean, with a crisp impression on a clean sheet. Former fold lines are largely flattened. Very good overall.


1 in stock