Philadelphia: Lea and Blandchard, 1845. Very Good. First Edition. [Octavo Edition] [8.25x13in]; Map of the greater Oregon Territory and covers from 42 N. to 54 N. by 108 W. to 134 W., with inset of Columbia River survey by the Expedition; Mild age toned with vertical fold crease lines, right edge missing neat line with no loss of text.
The map is very detailed with the location of forts, farms, ranches and communities, Indian tribes and general range of influence. The inset of the Columbia River is detailed from a survey by the Exploring Expedition for almost 300 miles. There is a Note on the map of sources from areas not directly surveyed, ... "The Northern part of this Map contains the latest information of the Hudson Bay Company and the Eastern part, that of Lieu. Fremont's U.S.T.E. Exploration on the Eastern Side of the Rocky Mountains."
Charles Wilkes was selected to command the first United States government sponsored exploring expedition to the South Seas and Western North American coast. After returning from the long and eventful voyage, he wrote and compiled the scientific reports in the Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition During the Years 1838,1839,1840,1841,1842, first issued in 1844 of 100 copies by C. Sherman. This copper engraved map is a reduced size from the original 25 1/2 x38 1/8 in map in the Atlas issued with the 1844 Quarto and 1845 Imperial Octavo limited editions of 150 and 1,000 (Haskell 1, 2A and 2B, respectively) . This map was reduced for the 1845 Octavo popular edition (3,000 copies), which was the first issued without a stand alone Atlas, and included in Volume IV, facing page 291 (Haskell 3). The map was also included in subsequent editions by Lea and Blandchard. [Haskell 3]. Item #13526
Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) was a naval officer with a science background. He was selected, after a number of other senior officers declined the position, to command the expedition. The United States had one of the largest merchant fleets that were sailing throughout the world and primarily relied on British charts for navigation. The exploring expedition was conceived in 1828 to chart the known and unknown islands, discover the Antarctic continent, explore the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Northwest coast to insure the United States claim to the land and expand the scientific knowledge of the natural world. The tremendous number of plants, animal specimens and native artifacts that were brought back formed the Smithsonian collection and created the U.S. Botanical Gardens. This map was also used to support the United States claim to most of the Pacific Northwest to 54 40" (north of Queen Charlotte Is.) and the rally cry of "Fifty-four Forty or Fight".
From the expedition's beginning to the completion of the final reports and maps, the cost exceeded $900,000 for the scientific instruments, stores, seven ships, scientists, artists, and men (the estimated equivalent of $588 million today).