BYRON'S 1764-66 CIRCUMNAVIGATION, 1769 SPANISH EDITION, WITH FOLDING MAP OF THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN NOT FOUND IN ENGLISH EDITIONS, AND WITH ENGRAVED FRONTISPIECE OF THE PATAGONIAN "GIANTS"
BYRON, John. Viage del Comandante Byron al rededor del Mundo, Hecho Ultimamente de Orden del Almirantazgo de Inglaterra… [BOUND WITH, AS ISSUED]: Resumen Historico del Primer Viage Hecho al rededor del Mundo, Emprendido por Hernando de Magallanes. Madrid: Imprenta Real de la Gazeta, 1769. Small quarto, early full limp vellum, spine lettered in ink, remnants of ties, endpapers renewed. $7200.
Second and expanded Spanish edition—issued the same year as the first—of Byron's account of his 1764-66 circumnavigation of the world in the Dolphin, with folding map (measuring 14 by 19 inches) of the Strait of Magellan not present in English editions (hand-colored in outline) and engraved frontispiece depicting the "giants" of Patagonia. This second edition also incorporates the account of Magellan's circumnavigation of 1519-22, completed by Captain Juan Sebastian del Cano after Magellan's death, making him the first captain to complete a circumnavigation, which was not included in the first Spanish edition.
"Early in 1764 John Byron ("Foul-Weather Jack") was appointed in command of the Dolphin frigate, the first English vessel to be sheathed with copper, and ordered to proceed to the East Indies, with secret instructions, however, to sail to the Pacific Ocean on an exploring expedition. [He informed his crew of the true aim of their expedition only once they reached Rio de Janeiro.] The vessel sailed westward across the Pacific from the Straits of Magellan and managed, almost miraculously, to avoid discovering any islands except in the northern part of the Low Archipelago, where seven islands were discovered… He completed the circumnavigation of the globe in 22 months, an easy record up to that time, but a record which should not have been made on a voyage intended for discovery" (Cox). During the course of this voyage Byron claimed the Falkland Islands for Great Britain. Navigational routes through the Strait of Magellan were a closely guarded secret, and it is not surprising that the English editions were published without this map. Byron's account of this voyage also gained some notoriety due to its description of Patagonian giants, which are depicted in the frontispiece. Though these giants were first observed by the crew of Magellan's fleet, and other authors refer to them, Byron's account claimed detailed sightings and interactions with these legendary "giants"—earning Byron his share of ridicule. First published in English in 1767. Text in Spanish. Cox I, 53-54. Not in Hill.
Folding map neatly laid down on paper; small paper repairs to frontispiece and title page. Text quite clean. An exceptionally good copy of this scarce edition, desirable with the folding map of the Strait of Magellan.