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Old 05-26-2010, 04:52 AM   #1
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How Did Bouvet I. Get Lost 271 Years Ago?:

In August 1738, the French explorer Jean Baptiste de Lozier Bouvet set out to find a reported “land of princes and parrots” called “Terra Australis Incognita” for the French East India Company.

Instead, on January 1, 1739, he happened across a barren, ice-covered landfall in the furthest reaches of the fearsome Southern Ocean that was named after him. It proved to be the most isolated speck of dry land on the face of the earth.

Using the unreliable tools of the day for determining longitude, Bouvet plotted the island’s longitude 200 miles west of its present-day position (54[sup]o[/sup] 26' South Lat by 3[sup]o[/sup] 24' East Long). How could this have happened?

One source says that Bouvet based his questionable longitude calculation, not on the Prime Meridian (0º) at Greenwich, but by the longitude of Praia, capital of the Cape Verde Islands (14º 55’ N by 23º 31’ W) – 375 miles off the west coast of Africa.

Could this have accounted, at least in part, for Bouvet’s error 271 years ago? Any additional theories?

Thanks,
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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Did Bouvet get Lost?

"Terra Australis Incognita" was in 1739 a mythical land said to be in the ocean now titled the Southern Ocean. Because Bouvet is said to have found an island, now named after him as Bouvet island, not withstanding the coordinates he assigned to his finding were 480nm miles different to what is the actual position of the present day Island. He was able to return to Capetown, South Africa from this "island' (on which he is said not to have actually gone ashore.) He returned to Capetown with members of his crew who had become ill. Bouvet then navigated his way back to France.

So, if he was lost due to a navigational error on the southern passage - how was he able to navigate his way home via Capetown??
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:15 PM   #3
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A smudge on the chart? A transcription error? A short-sighted historian?

While doing genealogy searches I've become very aware of how easily incomprehensible handwriting can be, no matter how neat. In the US we're keenly aware of this since so many of our ancestors' names were misspelled or misread by immigration authorities. That meant that they, and their descendents, no longer have the surname that can be found in the mother country. I figure it's as common in other countries as it is in the US, and in areas other than names.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MMNETSEA' date='26 May 2010 - 04:35 AM View Post

Did Bouvet get Lost?

"Terra Australis Incognita" was in 1739 a mythical land said to be in the ocean now titled the Southern Ocean. Because Bouvet is said to have found an island, now named after him as Bouvet island, not withstanding the coordinates he assigned to his finding were 480nm miles different to what is the actual position of the present day Island. He was able to return to Capetown, South Africa from this "island' (on which he is said not to have actually gone ashore.) He returned to Capetown with members of his crew who had become ill. Bouvet then navigated his way back to France.

So, if he was lost due to a navigational error on the southern passage - how was he able to navigate his way home via Capetown??
Well, knowing the coordinates for Cape Town, (33-55-31 South Lat by 18-25-26 E Long) wouldn't Bouvet have sailed north to 33 degrees South Lat and run east until he sighted the tip of southern Africa -- taking care not to miscalculate and pass Cape Agulhas to the south.

What else do you know about Monsieur Bouvet and his grand adventure -- care to share any sources?



Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JeanneP' date='26 May 2010 - 07:15 AM View Post

A smudge on the chart? A transcription error? A short-sighted historian?
These are certainly possibilities, but what's your take on the Cape Verde -- or any other -- navigational theories?

Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by shamrockery' date='26 May 2010 - 01:17 PM View Post

These are certainly possibilities, but what's your take on the Cape Verde -- or any other -- navigational theories?

Thanks.
When we were assembling charts and information we were warned that very old French charts (as in 1820's) still used the Paris Meridian. Since France stuck with this until the well after the rest of the world agreed in 1834 to set Greenwich as the Prime Meridian, I don't think that any self-respecting French navigator would have used anything but the Paris Meridian. At that time there were already three meridians, Paris, Greenwich, and Antwerp.

Quoting from Wikipedia, "In the year 1634, France ruled by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu decided that Ferro's meridian should be used as the reference on maps, since this island is the most western position of the Old World. It was also thought to be exactly 20 degrees west of Paris. Indeed the exact position of Ferro was never considered to be one of the best."

That doesn't explain the badly charted error, but I can't accept the Cape Verde explanation either.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:35 AM   #7
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Shamrockery

Did Bouvet get Lost?

"Terra Australis Incognita" was in 1739 a mythical land said to be in the ocean now titled the Southern Ocean. Because Bouvet is said to have found an island, now named after him as Bouvet island, not withstanding the coordinates he assigned to his finding were 480nm miles different to what is the actual position of the present day Island. He was able to return to Capetown, South Africa from this "island' (on which he is said not to have actually gone ashore.) He returned to Capetown with members of his crew who had become ill. Bouvet then navigated his way back to France.

So, if he was lost due to a navigational error on the southern passage - how was he able to navigate his way home via Capetown??

Quote:
Originally Posted by shamrockery' date='27 May 2010 - 12:14 AM View Post

Well, knowing the coordinates for Cape Town, (33-55-31 South Lat by 18-25-26 E Long) wouldn't Bouvet have sailed north to 33 degrees South Lat and run east until he sighted the tip of southern Africa -- taking care not to miscalculate and pass Cape Agulhas to the south.

What else do you know about Monsieur Bouvet and his grand adventure -- care to share any sources?



Thanks.
Shamrockery,

If Bouvet did not know where he was going, how did you arrive at the proposition that he got lost? How did he know where to find Capetown on his way back? How can you be sure that he actually found the island that was was named after him? Was it an iceberg?

Would I be wrong to assume that you are asking others to do your research for you? It is noted that you have posted your questionnaire in at least one other forum.

If this is a project that you have set yourself, may I suggest that there are search engines out there, where one can piece together a hypothesis on Bouvet's claims.
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