Source: RGS (with IBG).

This map, published in 1811, shows the round-the-world trip of the British explorer Captain Philip Carteret, who 'discovered' the Carteret Islands - and named them after himself - in 1767.

I've traced the route Carteret took in black. What struck me looking at the map is that the names are strange. The outlines of the hand-drawn coasts and islands are strange too, as if misremembered, dreamed or, I realise, not yet fully formed. They represent only the best understanding of the time; so the south-east coast of New Holland (modern-day Australia) is filled in with only a dotted line, as if the map's maker was unsure where the shore he was describing truly ran. The coast of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea), too, is drawn in dots and not the shape we know it to be today. Carteret sailed right through the middle of this fragmentary, half-imagined world.

You can read more about Carteret's 'discovery' here.

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