Conference speakers

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Catherine Hofman

Chief Curator, Maps and Plans Department, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

From a dreamed Terra Australisto the Oceania:
French explorations and cartography of the Pacific ocean in the second half of the 18th century

From the expedition of Bouvet de Lozier (1738/1739) to this of d'Entrecasteaux (1791-1793), I will consider the interactions between the maritime expeditions, their goals and  their results,  and  the cartography of the Pacific ocean made both by academic mapmakers (like Delisle and Buache)  and hydrographers (Bellin, Beautemps-Beaupré), I will explore especially the role of geographical hypotheses in the construction of the knowledge on the Pacific.

Professor Mirela Altić

Chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. Professor Altic is currently Vice-Chair of ICA Commission on the History of Cartography and President of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

The Spanish Contribution to the Exploration and Mapping of the South Pacific (1770–1775) at the Time of Captain James Cook: Knowledge Exchange in the South Sea

This paper will analyse the Spanish contribution to the exploration of the South Pacific at the time of Captain James Cook. Our interest is focused on three expeditions. The expedition of Captain Don Felipe González de Ahedo arrived on Easter Island in 1770, two years before James Cook. González claimed the island in the name of the Spanish Crown and, with the help of his navigator Juan Hervé, conducted detailed mapping of the island. The said navigator would play a key role in the next two Spanish expeditions sent to the South Pacific by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat y Junyent.

Richard Pflederer

Author and independent researcher

Magellan, the Pacific Ocean and the Search for the Anti-Meridian

For many, the key achievement of the 1519-21 voyage of Ferdinand Magellan and his fleet of five ships is embodied the fact of circumnavigation. But in fact, circumnavigation was never an objective of the Magellan-Faleiro project. The primary goal of the voyage was to establish that the Moluccas were located within the Spanish hemisphere as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas, thus allowing Charles V to claim the mantle of Christian leader of a vast and very rich portion of the globe. Navigating the South Pacific while maintaining a detailed and accurate track of his fleet was key to this objective. By examining surviving sea charts related to the question of the longitudinal dimension of the Pacific and establishing the position of these islands, this paper aims to explain in layman’s terms the methodology and conclusions of Magellan as the great navigator he was. 

Richard A. Pegg

Richard A. Pegg is currently Director and Curator of Asian Art for the MacLean Collection, an Asian art museum and separate map library located north of Chicago Illinois.

Marco Polo and Maps of the Sixteenth Century

The Travels of Marco Polo was penned around 1298 by his prison cellmate in Genoa, Rustichello da Oisa (fl. Late 13th c). It represents the first descriptions of a European spending more than sixteen years seeing a range of countries and civilizations across Asia. The subsequent numerous editors and copyists, some 140 extent manuscripts thus far, have misspelt toponyms and modified texts in ways we can never clarify.

But of all the toponyms found in Polo’s work, it is the names Lochac (or Locach, locac, Locack, Lokok) and Beach (or Boeach) that are of particular interest in the mapping history of Terra Australis and a cause for disagreement and discussion. Did Marco Polo discover Australia in the thirteenth century? No. But a more appropriate question might be: did an editorial error in his Travels lead later explorers to look for it?


More to come soon.