|Contextual Notes||Gerhard Friedrich Muller was a German scientist and a member of the Second Kamchatka Expedition led by Russian captains and explorers, Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov in 1741. Hayes writes that Muller created this map in 1754 based on the information he had from Bering's and Chirikov's expeditions (Hayes, 104). Goss too, writes that Muller was the map's original creator, quoting Muller as stating that in this map he intended only to "connect together, according to probability, the coasts that had been separated in various places" (Goss, 142). Portinaro and Knirsch, however, write that the original author of the 1754 map is unknown and that Muller merely published the map in 1758 as "Nouvelle Carte des Descouvertes Faites par des Vaissaux Russes." Whether or not Muller was the original creator or first publisher (or both), the map became one of the best-known works representing the Alaska coastline and the northwest coast of North America, including the River of the West linking Lake Winnipeg to the Pacific Ocean (Goss, 142; Hayes, 104; Tooley, 453; Wagner, 343, entry 650; Wagner, 337, entry 596; Wheat 224, no. 164). Unfortunately, the map does not accurately depict the coastline or the Aleutian Islands. Rather, it seems that Muller was a bit confused by the Aleutian Islands chain, resulting in a drawing of the mainland peninsula of America "jutting hundreds of miles into the North Pacific" (Hayes, 104). Muller's map was copied and republished by many other publishers and cartographers. This particular iteration of the map was created by Thomas Jefferys in 1761. It was published in his work, "Voyages." Carrington Bowles republished the map in his "New pocket map of the discoveries" (1780).|
Alaska was first discovered and mapped by Russian explorers in the eighteenth century. Peter the Great sent out his Danish captain, Vitus Bering in 1728. Bering left from Kamchatka Peninsula and heading east but had little luck in finding land in America. In 1732, Mikhail Gvozdev saw the eastern coast of the Diomede Islands in what is now modern-day Bering Strait, prompting more exploration. In spring of 1741, the Second Kamchatka Expedition began in which Bering was able to explore the Aleutian Islands. During this expedition, Bering and his fellow commander, Aleksei Chirikov (or Tschirikov), attempted to explored the northwest coast of Alaska. Chirikov had little luck, however, landing at Baker Island and coasting north towards Baranof Island. After an exploration boat from his voyage did not return, he decided to return to Kamchatka. Bering's voyage went worse. He was able to explore a little further south and land at Kayak Island during which time the major naturalist and scientist, Georg Steller, hurriedly conducted research on the island. On his return to Kamchatka, Bering wrecked on what is now modern-day Bering Island and died during the crew's stay on the island. After nearly a year, the remaining crew was able to build a ship from the wreckage of the first ship and sail back to Kamchatka, arriving in September of 1742 (Hayes, 102-5).
James Cook (1728-1779) was an English navigator and hydrographer who conducted extensive naval expeditions involving the survey of Newfoundland and exploration in the south Pacific Ocean and the northwest coast of North America. Throughout his three major voyages in the 1760s and 1770s, Cook encountered New Zealand, Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Bering Strait. After great success on his second voyage circumnavigating the globe, he was elected to the Royal Society and given the rank of post-Captain. During his last voyage through the south Pacific Ocean and the northwest coast of North America from 1776-1779, he died in a skirmish with native inhabitants of Hawaii on February 14, 1779. Following his death, Charles Clerke took over charge of the expedition (Howgego, 254-58).
Samuel Hearne (1745-1792) was an English explorer who made several expeditions in northern Canada, hoping to find a passage between Hudson Bay and the Pacific Ocean. During his explorations, he saw the Coppermine River, Dubawnt Lake and Arathapes Cow Lake (Howgego, 494-5).
Carrington Bowles (1724-93) was a printer and publisher in London. His works include "Britania Depicta" (1764), Evans' "middle British Colonies" (1765), "The Large English Atlas" (1785), "New Medium English Atlas" (1785), "America" [4 sheets] (1790) and "Universal Atlas" (1792). He was succeeded by Bowles and Carver.
Goss, John. "The Mapping of North America: Three Centuries of Map-making 1600-1860." London: Wellfleet Press, 1990.
Hayes, Derek. "America Discovered: A Historical Atlas of North American Exploration. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 2004.
Howgego, Raymond John. "Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800: A Comprehensive Reference Guide to the History and Literature of Exploration, Travel, and Colonization from the Earliest Times to the Year 1800." Potts Point, Australia: Hordern House, 2003.
Portinaro, Pierluigi and Franco Knirsch. "The Cartography of North America 1500-1800." New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1987.
Tooley, Ronald Vere. "Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers." Hertfordshire: Map Collector Publications Limited, 1979.
Wagner, Henry R. "The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the year 1800 Volume 2." Berkeley: University of California Press, 1937.
Wheat, Carl I. "Mapping the Transmississippi West." Volume 1. San Francisco: Institute of Historical Cartography, 1957.