A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels, Volume 1


A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World is a 17-volume compilation of travel narratives assembled by the Scottish historian and poet John Pinkerton (1758‒1826), first published in Great Britain in 1808‒14. A contemporary and acquaintance of the historian Edward Gibbon and the novelist Sir Walter Scott, Pinkerton wrote books on Scottish history and poetry, numismatics, and other topics, as well as his own plays and poems. Many of the narratives were newly translated into English from French, German, Dutch, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and other European languages. Each volume is illustrated with plates. A six-volume American edition of Pinkerton’s collection of voyages was published in Philadelphia in 1810‒12. Shown here is the first volume of the original London edition, which includes narratives of travel by Europeans, mostly to Arctic regions. One voyage by Sir Hugh Willoughby in the mid-16th century and three Dutch voyages in the 1590s had as their objectives the finding of a northern passage to the East Indies and China. “Letters on Iceland” is a long narrative by Uno von Troil (1746‒1803), a Swedish naturalist and explorer. Five short accounts concern the Azores, which were a refuge for ships returning to Spain from the Spanish Empire in the New World. Corsairs of many nationalities preyed on these ships for their valuable cargoes. One account is by Sir Walter Raleigh, who describes an August 1591 engagement with the Spanish in the Azores and ends with a paean of praise to Queen Elizabeth I.

Last updated: November 29, 2017