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Voyages and discoveries in the south seas 1792-1832

Date: 1924
Overall: 245 x 165 x 37 mm, 0.95 kg
Medium: Cloth, gilt, printed text on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00006040
Place Manufactured:Massachusetts

User Terms

    In May 1792, Captain Edmund Fanning sailed for the South Seas in his ship BETSEY on a voyage for seal skins. During the next 25 years he made over seventy voyages to the Pacific and around the world.
    SignificanceCaptain Edmund Fanning's narrative provides a detailed account of maritime travel and trade throughout the Pacific during the 18th and 19th centuries.
    HistoryAmerican traders, whalers and sealers roamed Australian waters from the early days of the colony. For the young colony of Sydney, seaborne trade was its lifeline. Many of the early merchant vessels were American traders on their way to China. Sealers and then whalers came to Australia seeking to fill their ships' holds with skins and oil. By the latter half of the 19th century, shipping lines advertised regular sailings between Australia and America.

    Edmund Fanning, 1769 - 1841, was an American explorer and sea captain. Born in Stonington, Connecticut, he became a cabin boy at the age of 14, and by 24 was captain of a West Indian brig in which he visited the South Pacific for the first time. He became master of the BETSEY in 1797 and discovered three South Pacific Islands known as the Fanning Islands: Washington, Palmyra and Fanning. During his time hunting seals in the South Pacific Fanning became a successful trader - exchanging seal skins in China for tea, spices and silks which he sold in New York City, making a small fortune.

    Fanning also acted as an agent for American investors on more than 70 commercial voyages and expeditions. In 1829 he played a significant role in establishing the first American naval exploring expedition and was also instrumental in obtaining Congressional approval for the Wilkes Expedition.

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