1869 Hydrographic Chart of the South Atlantic Ocean


“Chart of the South Atlantic Ocean From the Equator to 60° South Latitude. From the most Recent British Authorities. Sheet II.” Washington: Hydrographic Office, Navy Department, April 13, 1869. Separately issued U.S. Naval Chart. 24 1/4 x 36. Lithograph. A few pencil navigation notations. Very good condition for working chart.

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A U.S. Navy chart of the southern Atlantic, extending from the equator to 60º south.  The U.S. Navy became involved in making sea charts as early as 1819, with Cheever Felch’s survey of Cape Ann harbor.  Most of the early charts were commissioned for locations where the navy was planning naval stations or depots.  Most of the early printed charts were published privately rather than by the Navy.  In 1830, an official Navy Depot of Charts and Instruments was established to purchase, store and produce charts for the Navy.  This depot was led by such capable figures as Louis M. Goldsborough, Charles Wilkes, and Matthew Fontaine Maury.  Naval surveyors worked independently but also in conjunction with the U.S. Coastal Survey.

This particular chart was based on the latest information available from the British Admiralty.  Most of the map covers the boundless waters and few islands of the South Pacific, but in the top right corner of the chart is most of the lower half of Africa, from St. Thomas Island to the Cape.  No information is given of the interior of the continent, but much detail is presented along the coast, including ports, light beacons, and notes that would be useful for those sailing along the coast. The chart includes three inset charts of African ports.