Old Maps are Cool. Enough said. Or maybe not quite enough.
The Library of Congress has some nice documents online, and they don’t skimp on the resolution. You can download Captain George Dixon‘s 1787 map showing Haida Gwaii as an Island for the first time – the formats range from a small JPEG to a 100 meg TIFF. I tried the larger JPEG first but the TIFF allows much crisper detail and the ability to actual read the writing on this map. I don’t know what the “Islands of Lama Slama(?)” are – I am sure someone does – too close to Nootka to be the Cape Scott islands — maybe it’s the south side of the Brooks Peninsula misinterpreted as islands. And why is it in Spanish? Fill me in.
It’s also cool to see the tacking back and forth of the ship.
Anyway, I have a file on my computer (below) with the name “Haida Gwaii 1800-ish” — I don’t know where this came from and google image search doesn’t help. If anyone knows the origin of this cool map, let me know. It’s a fascinating document, showing Langara Island far bigger than it is, and Massett Sound passing right through the archipelago (it doesn’t – they may have mistaken an oral account of Skidegate Channel which does come to the west coast about at that place). It shows “Port Cumshewa” and “Port Skittigate” in about the right locations, and the big embayment to the Southwest called “Maggie’s Sound” and “Port Perkins” must be Tasu or Gowgaia. The legend says the map is sources to a Captain Maggie from Boston. I tried looking it up but my attention span is not that great and probably it’s a famous map someone recognizes. So have at it.