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.
A blog post from the British Library: “The Hakluyt Society: Publishing in Wartime“. Among other things, obtaining paper for the annual volumes was a challenge!
The submission deadline for the 2024 Hakluyt Society Essay Prize is 1 March 2024. For more details on how to enter the competition, please see the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize page.
The winner for 2023 is Harry Lewis, University of Edinburgh, for his essay: ‘St Malo to Callao: Maritime imperial conflict the Jacobites and the Viceroyalty of Peru 1701-1725’.
Honorable Mention: Dan Brooks, Trinity College, Cambridge, for ‘‘Where is my Countryman’? James Fraser’s “Triennial Travels” and the British Diasporas in Europe, 1657-60‘.
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.
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.