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.

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

New Additions to the Journal of the Hakluyt Society

Anthony Payne: Hakluyt and the East India Company: A Documentary and Bibliographical Review. Download for free.

Tony Campbell and Captain Michael Barritt RN, The Representation of Navigational Hazards: the Development of Toponymy and Symbology on Portolan Charts from the 13th Century onwards. Download for free.

New Video

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.

Printed Edition of the 2020 Annual Lecture

An extended version of Peter Barber’s 2020 Annual Lecture, previously available as an online video, has been published by the Society as a 46-page booklet, with 16 images. The title is unchanged: ‘From Geneva to the Rigi: British Images of Switzerland in Texts, Guidebooks and Maps, 1650-1904’.

More news and upcoming events.

Latest Member Volume

The Voyages and Manifesto of William Fergusson, a Surgeon of the East India Company 1731-1739 / Edited by Derek L. Elliott

The first publication of Fergusson’s diaries recalling his experiences as a young man travelling the world during his apprenticeship. They cover four voyages, one in home waters and the others to the East, calling at ports in Africa, Arabia, India, South East Asia and China. Fergusson’s document offers an unusually deep insight into the things he saw around him and, as a ‘manifesto of Enlightenment thought’, is a unique example of how those who sailed for the Company participated in a global intellectual exchange of ideas

203 pages, 8 maps, 4 colour plates, 9 monochrome illustrations, including a 33-page introduction, bibliography, etc. This book is issued free of charge to Society members.

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The Hakluyt Society Blog

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 webeditor@hakluyt.com. For all other enquiries please go to the Contact page.