Narrative of Voyages to Explore The Shores of Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar. Performed in H. M. Ships Leven and Barracouta under the Direction of Captain W. F. W. Owen by Command of The Lords Commission of The Admiralty. TWO VOLUMES.

OWEN, William Fitzwilliam.

Book ID: 23368


8vo. Volume I: xxiii, 434 pages, 1 errata slip / Volume II: viii, 420 pp., five lithographic plates including frontispieces, 4 folding maps, contemporary hard boards, slightly soiled and rubbed round corners, scattered foxing, few pencil markings, Volume I has few leaves with frayed edges, Richard Bentley, London, first edition, 1833.


William Owen, (1774-1857), Vice-Admiral, served on different ships at home and on West Indian stations. The expedition under command of Owen was undertaken for the purpose of charting and surveying the South East Coast of Africa and Madagascar and includes Mombasa, Mozambique and Sierra-Leone. Another account was published by Boteler two years later but this edition includes more information on Africa.
Captain William Owen directed a coastal expedition from the Cape of Good Hope through the Eastern Coast of Africa and the Coast of Arabia. He drew a sketch of the South Coast of Arabia from the Red Sea to Dhofar. He describes the town of Muscat and its shores, the pilgrimage, the pearl trade and the Island of Masseera.
In August 1821, Owen was appointed to the Leven, in which, for upwards of four years, he was employed in the survey of the Coast of Africa, and in February 1826 in supporting the troops in the war with Ashanti. In 1827 he returned, to Aden, to the Coast of Africa, where he settled the colony in Fernando Po.
In 1833 Owen published the above book, it is however, by his accurate surveys of coasts, until then only explored, that Owen is best known. The charts of the west and east coasts of Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, and of Asia, from Aden to Cape Comorin, drawn under his superintendence, are very numerous, and form the basis for those still in use.
Bibliographic references: Gay 101; Howgego, 1800 to 1850, O1; cf. Marshall, “European travellers in Oman and Southeast Arabia 1792–1950”, in: Bidwell et al. (eds), New Arabian Studies 2 (1994), pp. 10–11; Hilmy II, p. 86; Mendelssohn II, p. 133.

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