Among the voyages of exploration and surveying in the late 18th century, that of Alejandro Malaspina best represents the high ideals and scientific interests of the Enlightenment. Italian-born, Malaspina entered the Spanish navy in 1774. In September 1788 he and fellow-officer José Bustamante submitted a plan to the Ministry of Marine for a voyage of survey and inspection to Spanish territories in the Americas and Philippines. The expedition was to produce hydrographic charts for the use of Spanish merchantmen and warships and to report on the political, economic and defensive state of Spain's overseas possessions. The plan was approved and in July 1789 Malaspina and Bustamante sailed from CÃ¡diz in the purpose-built corvettes, Descubierta and Atrevida. On board the vessels were scientists and artists and an array of the latest surveying and astronomical instruments. The voyage lasted more than five years. On his return Malaspina was promoted Brigadier de la Real Armada, and began work on an account of the voyage in seven volumes to dwarf the narratives of his predecessors in the Pacific such as Cook and Bougainville. Among much else, it would contain sweeping recommendations for reform in the governance of Spain's overseas empire. But Malaspina became involved in political intrigue. In November 1795 he was arrested, stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment. Although released in 1803, Malaspina spent the last seven years of his life in obscure retirement in Italy. He never resumed work on the great edition, and his journal was not published in Spain until 1885. Only in recent years has a multi-volume edition appeared under the auspices of the Museo Naval, Madrid, that does justice to the achievements of what for long was a forgotten voyage. This second volume in a series of three contains Malaspina's diario or journal, for the first time in English translation and with commentary. It covers the period from 15 December 1790 to 15 November 1792, when he visited the Pacific coasts of Central and North America, as far north as Alaska, before crossing the ocean to the Philippines. Other texts include the apocryphal voyage of Ferrer Maldonaldo through the Strait of Anian, which led to a major diversion of the Malaspina expedition in 1791.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; From Callao to Acapulco: From PanamÃ¡ to Realejo; At Realejo; From Realejo to Acapulco; At Acapulco. From Acapulco to Port Mulgrave and Nootka Sound: From Acapulco to Port Mulgrave; At Port Mulgrave; Port Mulgrave to Nootka Sound; At Nootka Sound. From Nootka Sound To Acapulco: From Nootka Sound to Monterey; At Monterey; From Monterey to Acapulco and visit by Descubierta to Isla Guadalupe and San Bas; Return to Acapulco and preparations for crossing the Pacific. From Acapulco to Manila: Acapulco to Guam; At Guam; From Guam to Port Palapag in the Philippines; At Port Palapag; From Port Palapag to Manila and at Sorsogon. At Manila and the Separation of the Corvettes: Events in Manila Bay. The Island Of Luzon And Atrevida's Visit To Macau: Survey of the coast of Ilocos by Descubierta; Laying up Descubierta in Cavite and the survey of Manila Bay; Bustamante's account of Atrevida's visit to Macau; Viana's account of his survey of the coasts of Pangasinan, Ilocos and Cagayan; The survey of the eastern coast of Luzon; Neé's account of his journey from Sorsogon; Haenke's account of his journey from Manila to Bangui; An account of Pineda's journey and his death in Badoc. Appendixes; Works cited.
'The high standard of illustration set by the first volume continues here in the second ... it is difficult to find flaws with this fine book ...This first English edition of a long overlooked Spanish voyage of exploration cannot but be an important contribution to the history of discovery. We look forward with pleasure to the publication of the final volume next year.' The Northern Mariner