Dedicated to the late JOHN HORACE PARRY, who should have been editing this volume.
Among the principal expanses of ocean there were three whose geography remained substantially unknown to Europeans at the beginning of the eighteenth century: the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Pacific.
For us, the drawings constitute a record unequaled for accuracy and breadth of vision -- a truly unparalleled look into the past.
Background to Discovery recounts the great voyages of discovery, from Dampier to Cook, that excited such fervent political and popular interest in eighteenth-century Europe. Perhaps this book's greatest strength lies in its remarkable synthesis of both the achievements of European maritime exploration and the political, economic, and scientific motives behind it. Writing essays on the literary and artistic response to the voyages as well, the contributors collectively provide a rich source for historians, geographers, and anyone interested in the history of voyage and travel.
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