THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
George Anson's Voyage 1740-1744
Captain George Anson was
a career naval officer, having joined the service in 1712. After England
declared war on Spain in 1739, he was sent around the world in the
Centurion with a strictly military objective. His fleet of
six ships was to attack Spanish settlements in the Americas, and,
if possible, to capture a gold-laden Spanish galleon. Anson was spectacularly
successful in this quest, bringing back 400,000 pounds in Spanish
booty. On another measure, the voyage was disastrous, since over one
thousand of Anson's sailors died of scurvy. This staggering loss of
life was a powerful incentive to find a cure for scurvy, and within
just a few decades it was discovered that regular consumption of citrus
fruits would prevent the disease.
While Anson's ships carried no naturalist, his published Voyage includes this marvelous plate of sea lions seen off the west coast of South America. The crew at times subsisted on sea lions and seals.
"Sea Lion and Lioness"
from A Voyage Round the
World in the Years 1740
London: Knapton, 1748.