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Scarce Italian published map of Alaska and the Northwest Coast of America and Northeast Coast of Asia, engraved to illustrate the Italian edition of the account John Meares Voyages to the Region.
The map tracks both the journeys of Captain James Cook's Voyage to the region in 1778 and 1779 and Meare's expedition through the region in 1788 and 1789.
In 1786, Captain John Meares (1746-1801) was sent from India by a group of merchants intending to enter the fur trade in America. Meares' ship was named the "Nootka" & upon reaching the Pacific Northwest coast he ran into two other British traders, Captains Dixon & Portlock who warned him off the coast as he didn't have a South Seas or an East India Company license, which were required by marine law for English ships trading in American & Asian waters.
Meares collected some furs which he traded in China after wintering in Hawaii. In 1788 Meares took off again, this time from Macao for the Pacific Northwest, in the ships "Iphigenia" & "Felice" both without licenses & flying the Portuguese flag. Arriving in Nootka he raised the British flag, claimed it for England & built a warehouse & a schooner which he named the "Northwest America."
Meares actions provoked the Spanish authorities who had also laid claim to the territory. After Meares departure, the Spanish seized Meares' remaining ships which almost started a war between England & Spain. After some negotiation, Spain agreed to provide compensation for the seized ships & the signing of the Nootka Convention of 1790, which recognized British rights to the region & disallowed Spanish claims to the northern territories.
Antonio Zatta (fl. 1757-1797) was a prominent Italian editor, cartographer, and publisher. Little is known about his life beyond his many surviving published works. It is possible that he was born as early as 1722 and lived as late as 1804. He lived in Venice and his work flourished between 1757 and 1797. He is best known for his atlas, Atlante Novissimo (1779-1785), and for his prolific output of prints and books that were both precisely made and aesthetically pleasing. Zatta clearly had a large network from which to draw information; this is how he was able to publish the first glimpse of the islands visited by Captain Cook in the Atlante Novissimo. Zatta also published books of plays and architecture.
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