Circumnavigations of the Globe to 1800

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Everyone learns in school that Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circle the globe and that Sir Francis Drake was second (technically, that's not correct - see below), but who was third? That information is surprisingly hard to uncover, but the reason is fairly obvious once known; many of the succeeding voyages, like Drake's, were piracy expeditions, simply retraced Drake's route, and made no new discoveries.

By the 1600's it was possible to go around the world as a paying passenger. Trans-Atlantic trade was firmly established. The Spanish had trade caravans regularly crossing Mexico to link Atlantic and Pacific ports, and they were sending ships regularly between the Philippines and Mexico across the Pacific. Trade between Europe and the Far East was being regularly conducted by several European nations. Thus, there was a continuous network of European trade routes circling the globe. However, it was rarely necessary or useful for a single ship or person to make the complete circuit. Thus, the total number of global circumnavigations to 1800 is surprisingly small. After 1800, thanks to American whalers and merchantmen trading with China via Cape Horn, round-the-world voyages become much more common. Two significant voyages from just after 1800 are also listed.

A look at a map of winds and ocean currents shows that by far the easiest way to circumnavigate the globe is from west to east. That way you make the passage around Cape Horn, with its legendary foul weather, with the wind at your back. Almost of the voyages listed here went the opposite way. If all you wanted to do was explore the Pacific, by far the easiest and safest way was to round the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, then cross the Indian Ocean, returning the same way. Many illustrious expeditions did exactly that. The weather is better, ports of call more numerous, and help more likely to come by if you get stranded. The main reason for entering the Pacific by way of Cape Horn was secrecy; piracy in the earlier cases, but even some later purely exploration expeditions were secret to conceal colonization intentions or prevent attacks by hostile ships.

Ferdinand Magellan 1519-1522

Garcia Jofre de Loaysa 1525-1536

Sir Francis Drake 1577-1580

Sir Thomas Cavendish 1586-88

Simon de Cordes 1598-1601

Oliver Van Noort 1598-1601

George Spilberg 1614-17

James LeMaire and William Cornelius Schouten 1615-17

Jacob l'Hermite and John Hugo Schapenham 1623-26

Henry Brouwer 1641-43

Cowley 1683-86

William Dampier 1679-91

Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Carreri 1693-98

Beauchesne Gouin 1699

William Dampier 1703-07

Woodes Rogers 1708-11

Gentil de la Barbinais 1714-

Clipperton and Shelvocke 1719-21

Roggewein 1721-23

Lord George Anson 1740-44

Commodore John Byron 1764-66

Samuel Wallis and Philip Carteret (Dolphin and Swallow) 1766-68

Louis de Bougainville 1766-69

James Cook 1768-71

James Cook 1772-75

Thomas-Nicholas Baudin

Johann von Kruzenshtern and Yuri Fyodorovich Lisianski, 1803-1806

References

Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de, comte, 1772; A voyage round the world. (Translated from the French by John
Reinhold Forster), Published: N. Israel; Da Capo Press, 1967, 476 p. [Call # G420 .B68 1772]. This reference contains a useful summary of round-the-world voyages up to that time.

The Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (22 vol. plus supplements) is the source for information on most of the English figures mentioned.

Wikipedia has an article "List of Circumnavigations" that includes other and later voyages.


Ferdinand Magellan

Cameron, Ian, Magellan and the first circumnavigation of the world, Saturday Review Press, 1973, 224 p.

Pigafetta, Antonio, The voyage of Magellan; the journal of Antonio Pigafetta, Prentice-Hall, 1969, 149 p.

Garcia Jofre de Loaysa

Markham, Clements R.,1967; Early Spanish voyages to the Strait of Magellan, translated and edited with a preface, introduction, and notes by Sir Clements Markham. Nendeln, Liechtenstein, Kraus Reprint, 1967. Series: Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, 2d ser., no. 28.

Sir Francis Drake

Drake, Francis, Sir, The world encompassed, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; Da Capo Press, 1969, 108 p.

Wilson, Derek A.,: The world encompassed : Drake's great voyage 1577-1580, Hamilton, 1977, 240 p.

Sir Thomas Cavendish 1586-88

Last voyages--Cavendish, Hudson, Raleigh : the original narratives  Oxford : Oxford ; New York : Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, 1988

Hakluyt, Richard, The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques & discoveries of the English nation; made by sea or over-land to the remote and farthest distant quarters of the earth at any time within the compasse of these 1600 yeeres. Publisher: New York, AMS Press, 1965.

Simon de Cordes 1598-1600

Sluiter, Engel, 1933; The voyage of Jacques Mahu and Simon de Cordes into the Pacific Ocean, Ph.D. Thesis, University of California - Berkeley.

Oliver Van Noort 1598-1601

George Spilberg 1614-17

Spilbergen, Joris van,  The East and West Indian mirror, being an account of Joris van Speilbergen's voyage round the world (1614-1617), and the Australian navigations of Jacob Le Maire, translated with notes and an introd. by J. A. J. De Villiers,  Kraus Reprint, 1967, 272 p.

James LeMaire and William Cornelius Schouten 1615-17

Jacob l'Hermite and John Hugo Schapenham 1623-26

Henry Brouwer 1643-

Cowley 1683-86

William Dampier 1679-91

Wilkinson, Clennell, 1929: Dampier; explorer and buccaneer, New York, Harper & brothers, 257p.

Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Carreri 1693-98

Carletti, Francesco,  My voyage around the world. Translated from the Italian by Herbert Weinstock, Pantheon Books, 1964, 270 p.

Beauchesne Gouin 1699

Edward Cooke 1708-11

Woodes Rogers 1708-11

[Archibald] Fleming MacLiesh and Martin L. Krieger, The privateers, a raiding voyage to the great South Sea, Random House, 1962,: 368 p. (Account of the Woodes Rogers voyage)

Gentil de la Barbinais 1714-

Clipperton and Shelvocke 1719-21

Roggewein 1721-23

Roggeveen, Jacob,  The journal of Jacob Roggeveen; edited and translated by Andrew Sharp, Clarendon Press, 1970, 193 p.

Lord Anson 1740-44

Walter, Richard,  A voyage round the world in the years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV by George Anson, Oxford University Press, 1974, 402 p.

Commodore Byron 1764-66

Wallace and Carteret (Dolphin and Swallow) 1766-68

Robertson, George,  The discovery of Tahiti; a journal of the second voyage of   H.M.S. Dolphin round the world under the command of Captain Wallis, R.N., in the years 1766, 1767, and 1768, written by her master. Edited by Hugh Carrington. Kraus Reprint, 1967, 291 p.

Louis de Bougainville 1766-69

News from New Cythera; a report of Bougainville's voyage, 1766-1769. Edited by L. Davis Hammond, University of Minnesota Press, 1970,: 66 p.

Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de, comte, 1772; A voyage round the world. (Translated from the French by John
Reinhold Forster), Published: N. Israel; Da Capo Press, 1967, 476 p. [Call # G420 .B68 1772].

James Cook 1768-71

Journal of a voyage round the world in H.M.S. Endeavour 1768-1771. Reprint of the ed. London, 1771, N. Israel; Da Capo Press, 1967, 130 p.

Ledyard, John,  Journal of Captain Cook's last voyage. Edited by James Kenneth Munford , Oregon State University Press, 1964,  264p.

Marra, John, Journal of the Resolution's voyage in 1771-1775, N. Israel; Da Capo Press, 1967, 328 p.

Cook, James,  The Journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery. Edited by J. C. Beaglehole. Published for the Hakluyt Society at the University Press, 1955-1974. 4 v.

Muir, John Reid, The life and achievements of Captain James Cook, R. N., F. R. S., explorer, navigator, surveyor and physician,  Blackie & son, limited, 1939, 310 p.

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Forster, Johann Reinhold,  Observations made during a voyage round the world, or, Physical geography, natural history, and ethic philosophy, G. Robinson, 1778, (microform) 649 p.

La Perouse, Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de,  Voyages and adventures of La Perouse. Translated from the French by Julius S. Gassner, Published for Friends of the Library of Hawaii by University of Hawaii Press, 1969, 161 p.


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Created 21 May 1997, Last Update 1 February 2000

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