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Author McCoy, Roger M.

Title On the edge : mapping North America's coasts / Roger M. McCoy
Published New York : Oxford University Press, [2012]
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Description 1 online resource (ix, 251 pages) : illustrations, maps
Contents pt. 1. The earliest ventures to North America to find a Northwest Passage, 1492-1543. The urge to discover new lands and make maps ; John Cabot makes a claim for England, 1497 ; Giovanni da Verrazzano maps an ocean of his imagination, 1524 ; Jacques Cartier gives France a prize, 1534, 1535, 1541 -- pt. 2. England reenters the game, 1576-1632. Ships, navigation, and mapping in the sixteenth century ; Martin Frobisher succumbs to gold fever, 1576, 1577, 1578 ; John Davis makes a near miss, 1585, 1586, 1587 ; Henry Hudson has a very bad day, 1607, 1608, 1609, 1610 -- pt. 3. West from the Pacific : overland to the Arctic Ocean, 1728-1789. Bering and Chirikov by sea, 1741; Hearne, 1770 and Mackenzie, 1789 by land ; James Cook maps a huge swath of the Northwest Coast, 1778 -- pt. 4. The British surge to find the Northwest Passage also makes maps, 1818-1845. John Ross sees a mirage, 1818; John Franklin makes his first expedition, 1819 ; William E. Parry has beginner's luck, 1819, 1821, 1824 ; John Franklin's second overland expedition makes a successful survey, 1825 ; John Ross's second voyage lasts four hard years, 1829-1833 ; Peter Dease and Thomas Simpson extend the North Coast map, 1837 ; John Franklin's last expedition becomes the failure of the century, 1845 -- pt. 5. The Franklin searchers almost finish the map, 1847-1858. The first searchers look in the wrong places, 1847 ; John Rae hears about Franklin from Eskimos, 1848 ; Robert McClure completes the pasage; Richard Collinson maps coastlines, 1850 ; Elisha K. Kane barely survives, but maps new land, 1853 ; Francis L. M'Clintock extends the map and learns what happened, 1857 -- Shifting the focus to the North Pole fills in vacant spots on the map, 1875-1920. George Nares maps the north coast of Ellesmere Island and relearns lessons, 1875 ; Otto Sverdrup maps an immense area, 1898 ; Vilhjalmur Stefansson maps new islands, 1913 ; A few final thoughts -- Glossary -- Appendix A.A chronology of selected expeditions to North America
Summary Roger McCoy recounts the 400-year effort to map North America's coasts. Much of the book is based on the narratives of mariners who sought a passage through the continent to Asia and produced maps as a by-product of their journeys. These explorers had to rely on rudimentary mapping tools and to contend with unimaginably harsh conditions. Telling the story from the explorers' perspective, the book shows how maps of their voyages were made and why they were so full of errors, as well as how they gradually acquired greater accuracy, especially after the longitude problem was solved
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Cartography -- Atlantic Coast (North America) -- Early works to 1800.
Cartography -- Pacific Coast (North America) -- Early works to 1800.
Atlantic Coast (North America) -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Pacific Coast (North America) -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Genre/Form Early works.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0199974160 (electronic bk.)
9780199974160 (electronic bk.)