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.
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.
“The Hakluyt Society volumes are the Gold Standard for historical eyewitness accounts of exploration and discovery, annotated in detail by first rank scholars and beautifully bound.” Dr. Jack Benson, University of Zurich.
“When I was writing The Conquest of the Incas, it was fortunate for me that Sir Clements Markham … shared my passion for Peru … . Markham translated and got Hakluyt to publish a bonanza (for me) of texts about the Incas, which were invaluable in my research.” John Henry Hemming CMG, historian and explorer.
“For more than 150 years, the Hakluyt Society’s many publications, the texts carefully edited according to modern principles and accompanied by informative maps, charts and illustrations, have constituted a matchless resource for those interested in Europe’s explorations of the outer world.” Prof. Alan Frost, FRHistS, FAHA, La Trobe University.
“I stumbled on the Society’s books in my teens. I’m still entranced with the wonder I felt then at worlds disclosed through the minds of discoverers to whom everything was strange and transforming. Each new volume enriches an eagle-eyed vision of Earth – sweeping in scope, vivid in detail.” Felipe Fernández-Armesto, University of Notre Dame.
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.
The Life and Antarctic Voyages of John Biscoe, by Ann Savours, collated and edited by Maurice Raraty, further edited and prepared for publication by Raymond Howgego. Based on Ann’s many years of research, this is the most thorough account to date of this often overlooked explorer. To download the article please follow this link.
This year’s annual lecture, ‘The Volga: the River as a Frontier’, presented by Professor Janet Hartley to follow the AGM on 16 June 2021, is available as a video on this website. To watch the lecture please follow this link.
Extensive material from the January conference, ‘Maps and Mapping in English-speaking countries in the 17th and 18th centuries’, is now available as youtube videos. This is separated into two days, 15th and 16th January, at the following locations:
The Society has received the sad news of the death of our long-standing member Andrew David on 29th May 2021. Andrew served for more than forty years in the Royal Navy as a hydrographic surveyor, including a period in the UK Hydrographic Office. He served as vice-president of the Society between 1997 and 2002, and he was the first recipient of the President’s Medal in 2006. In addition to his service on Council, his contributions to the work of the Society include his part in editing the three volumes on the Malaspina Expedition, 1789-1794, and his editorship of the Broughton Voyage, 1795-1798, and the magnificent three volumes of The Charts & Coastal Views of Captain Cook’s voyages.
Our former president, Will Ryan FBA, has been honoured by the publication of Magic, Travel and Texts, with much Hakluyt Society content. For more detail please follow this link.
Professor Trevor Levere talks about the experiences of Henry Wemyss Feilden, naturalist in HMS Alert on the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-6, and about his own work of editing Feilden’s journal for the Hakluyt Society. Watch the video here.
More news and upcoming events.
Spanish and Portuguese Conflict in the Spice Islands: the Loaysa Expedition to the Moluccas 1525-1535 / Edited by Glen F. Dille
From Book XX of The Second Part of the General and Natural History of the Indies by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés.
213 pages, 6 maps, including a 26-page introduction, bibliography, notes, etc. A translation of thirty-one chapters of Oviedo’s History describing two little known but remarkable voyages that followed in the wake of Magellan: the first led by García Jofre de Loaysa, and the second, a relief expedition, led by Alvaro Saavedra. An Appendix includes the ‘Narrative of Andrés de Urdaneta’.
This book is issued free of charge to Society members.
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For more about Hakluyt Society activities, sponsored events and news related to our fields on interest, we recommend visiting the Hakluyt Society Blog 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 website is written, maintained and updated by Raymond John Howgego FRGS (Hon. Editor Online Publications) who will be happy to answer enquiries relating to website content and the online Journal of the Hakluyt Society. These and any new material that might be of interest to members of the Society may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other enquiries please go to the Contact page.