History Archive > A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World Vol. 1 (1712)

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[Volume 1] A voyage to the South Sea, and round the world, perform'd in the years 1708, 1709, 1710, and 1711 : containing a journal of all memorable transactions during the said voyage, the winds, currents, and variation of the compass, the taking of towns of Puna and Guayaquil, and several prizes, one of which a rich Acapulco ship : a description of the American coasts, from Tierra del Fuego in the south, to California in the north, (from the coasting-pilot, a Spanish manuscript) : an historical account of all those countries from the best authors : with a new map and description of the mighty river of the Amazons : wherein an account is given of Mr. Alexander Selkirk, his manner of living and taming some wild beasts during the four years and four months he liv'd upon the uninhabited island of Juan Fernandes : illustrated with cuts and maps


Date: 1712




This 2 volume work by Capt. Edward Cooke is about a real-life trip around the world in two ships, under the command of Woodes Rogers. It is notable for including a firsthand account of castaway Alexander Selkirk, whose tale appears to have helped inspire Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe a few years later.

In 1708, two ships set sail from Bristol under command of Woodes Rogers. These were the Duke of Bristol and Dutchess of Bristol. These ships circled the world, trading goods from Europe for goods from various places in the "southern ocean", the Atlantic, Pacific, and other seas circling the southern hemisphere.

Once the journey was over, sailor Edward Cooke (not the Captain Cooke) wrote up an account, in two volumes, that was printed the next year. In it were updated maps, including of the Amazon River, and An Account is given of Mr. Alexander Selkirk, about a man who had been marooned on the uninhabited island of "Mas a Tierra", which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966, for four years and it covered his manner of living being adept at hunting, taming wild beasts and making use of the resources available. Selkirk's story is the inspiration for the 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe.

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This book also covers other topics of interest. Among these are their own privateering (pirating), the expedition of ships capturing many other vessels ostensibly from targets of the English crown, and contains early documentation of the Galapagos islands later made famous by Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle. Woodes Rogers wrote his own account, A Cruising Voyage Round the World since narratives of voyages were popular reading material at the time.

In 1718, Queen Anne's Revenge - the ship of famous pirate and privateer Blackbeard - ran aground on a sandbar at Beaufort Inlet off the coast of North Carolina. Ultimately it had to be abandoned and was then lost, only to be rediscovered in 1996. A breech chamber, likely originally associated with a breech-loading swivel gun, was recovered still loaded with powder and wadding used to make a seal around a tampion. Part of the wadding consisted of fragments of paper upon which were printed words. Experts identified seven scraps of that paper as being pages from Cooke's A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World.

Volume two has title: A voyage to the South Sea ... by the ships Duke and Dutchess of Bristol ... the description of all the American coasts along the South Sea, with above 300 bearings of the land, the principal harbours, and three large charts, all taken from the Spanish original draughts, never before printed. With a table of the latitudes and longitudes of all places, from California, to the Streights of Magellan ..

Vol. 1 - 456, [12] p., 16, [3] leaves of plates (3 fold.) ; vol. 2 - [8], xxiv, 328, [8] p., [8] leaves of plates (6 fold.). Includes index in each volume.


Erik Farrell, Kimberly Kenyon, Sarah Watkins-Kenney, Kay Smith, Ruth Brown - "Message in a Breech Block: A Fragmentary Printed Text Recovered from Queen Anne's Revenge." The North Carolina Historical Review, Volume XCV No. 2, April 2018, ISSN 0029-2494 - pp. 231-248.

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Publication Information

Publisher: London : Printed by H.M. for B. Lintot and R. Gosling ..., A. Bettesworth ..., and W. Innys ...



Pages: 546


Boston Public Library

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-06-01

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