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Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
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 … 1744
London: Knapton, 1748.

Anson: Page 1 of 1.
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