The Hakluyt Society for scholarly books on voyages of discovery, history of exploration, maritime history, historical travel accounts

Since its foundation in 1846, the Hakluyt Society has been centrally concerned with the publication of scholarly editions of primary records of voyages and travels. With some 370 volumes published, this remains our principal activity, while we now extend our work to conferences, lectures and the award of grants and prizes. The volumes, which are distributed to current members, are illustrated with maps and plates and are widely prized for their standards of scholarship and book production.

Hakluyt Society books are often real life adventure stories in the field of exploration, navigation, voyages of discovery and historical travel accounts. They are based on the first hand, day to day logs, scientific reports and travel narratives of the explorers and travellers themselves. These volumes are scholarly page turners, fully annotated with fascinating details of tall ships, remote lands, newly sighted plant and animal species, and peoples rarely visited at the time, often the first descriptions of these distant cultures. And they are incredibly good value for money.

The Hakluyt Society is named after Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616), collector and editor of narratives of voyages and travels and other documents relating to English interests overseas, his most celebrated work being The Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation. His name was almost certainly pronounced hak’loowt, the family having come from the forest of Clwyd in the historic county of Radnor.

Membership of the Hakluyt Society is open to all and is strongly recommended to everybody interested in the history of exploration and travel, exploratory voyages, geographical discovery and worldwide cultural encounter.

On payment of an annual subscription, members receive all volumes issued by the Society (other than those of the Extra Series) for the year of membership. These historically significant texts and translations, often appearing in print for the first time, are fully annotated, well illustrated with maps and plates, and conform to the highest standards of scholarship. As such they often represent the ‘last word’ on the material they embrace, and are widely valued by historians and geographers throughout the world. Normally, two volumes are published each year, representing extraordinary value for money. These books are beautifully bound and printed, and stamped in gold with the familiar ‘Victoria’ logo of the Society, and rapidly become treasured collectors’ items.

Click here to join the Hakluyt Society.

Society News & Events

The 2024 Annual General Meeting of the Hakluyt Society

The 178th Annual General Meeting of The Hakluyt Society took place at the Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD (close to Euston Station) and also by remote access to the Society’s Zoom account, at 5.15 pm on Wednesday 12 June 2024.

2024 Annual lecture

This year’s annual lecture followed the AGM on 12 June, for both in person and on-line attendance. It was given by Council members Dr Guido van Meersbergen and Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki of the University of Warwick. The title is “Decolonising Travel Studies: Notes for the Hakluyt Society” and is a follow-up to the Hakluyt Society Symposium on “Decolonising Travel Studies: Sources and Approaches”, held to mark the Society’s 175th anniversary in 2021. In this annual lecture, the symposium organisers present the key findings of their project as they pertain to the Hakluyt Society’s field of operations both past and present. It is hoped that this will contribute both to deepening our understanding of the Society and its distinguished history and to inform conversations about the Society’s current and future profile and directions in a changing historical and academic context.

Hakluyt Society Essay Competition 2024

The Hakluyt Society is grateful to all entrants for submitting an essay for consideration in the 2024 Essay Competition and is pleased to announce this year’s results. This year’s winner of the prize of £1200 is Graham Moore, University of Reading, for his essay ‘Mutiny at the Edge of the World: Seafarers. Social Networks, and Shipboard Community during Hudson’s 1610 North West Passage Expedition’. The judges commended it as ‘a model essay that was tightly written and focused revealing exciting research that added new elements to the ill-fated Hudson expedition’.

Due to the exceptional quality of this year’s entries, the judges recommended the award of two Honourable Mentions, to Helen Hawken, Birkbeck, University of London, for ‘White Ladyes of the Pole: Nineteenth-Century British and American Women Travellers in the Arctic’ and to Samuel Cheney, University of Edinburgh, for ‘Exhausting the Ears: Aural Discomfort as Epistemological Disruption in British Travel Writing on China, c. 1860–c. 1911’.

Congratulations to Graham, Helen, and Samuel. Details of how to enter the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize Competition2025 will be announced later in the year.

Latest Member Volumes

Richard Hakluyt: A Bibliography 1580–1588 with Essays on the Suppression of the Voyage to Cadiz in Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations and Hakluyt and the East India Company, by Anthony Payne

This volume was issued free of charge to Society members with subscriptions current for 2024.


An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean Edited by Nigel Statham and Ian C. Campbell.

This volume was issued free of charge to Society members with subscriptions current for 2023.


The Levant Voyage of the Blackham Galley (1696 – 1698) / The Sea Journal of John Looker, Ship’s Surgeon / Edited By Colin Heywood and Edmond Smith
280 pages 16 colour plates, 3 maps.

This volume was issued free of charge to Society members with subscriptions current for 2022.


English Travellers to Venice 1450-1600 / Edited by Michael G. Brennan
467 pages, 16 maps, 27 colour plates, 45 b/w illustrations, 29-page introduction, appendix, bibliography, index. Includes 35 separate accounts, drawn from contemporary manuscripts and printed sources, of the experiences of a wide range of English travellers to Venice.

This volume was issued free of charge to Society members with subscriptions current for 2022.

The Hakluyt Society Blog and Facebook page

For more about Hakluyt Society activities, sponsored events and news related to our fields on interest, we recommend visiting the Hakluyt Society Blog and the Hakluyt Society Facebook page from time to time. Our posts relate to historical exploration, expeditions, navigators, voyages of discovery, nautical history, maritime history, geographical discovery, travel journals, accounts of pilgrimages, sailing ships, historical log books, topographical discovery, narratives of discovery, the history of cartography and much more.

The Hakluyt Society Blog.

The Hakluyt Society Facebook page.