A rare chart of the Bahama Channel
By FADEN, William; and J[oseph] FOSS DESSIOU , 1823

Chart of the Old Bahama Channel Comprising the Coast of the Isle of Cuba from Icacos Point to Point Guarico with the Adjacent Shoals and Dangers, Drawn Chiefly from the Spanish Surveys. By L. Foss Dessiou Master of the Royal Navy.

America Caribbean
  • Author: FADEN, William; and J[oseph] FOSS DESSIOU
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Brought of W. Faden & Published at the Hydrographical Office of the Admiralty, Sold by R.B. Bate 21 Poultry for the Lords Commissioner's of the Admiralty by Appointment
  • Publication date: May 1823.
  • Physical description: Engraved chart, inset charts of the anchorage by Green and Confits Key, and the anchorage of Rocky, Mono, and Monillo Keys, backed on japan paper, some minor loss skilfully repaired.
  • Dimensions: 620 by 950mm (24.5 by 37.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1096


Rare chart of the Southern Bahama Islands and the north coast of Cuba.

The map extends to the Salt Kay Bank and the Island of San Salvador, where Columbus is believed to have landed (so noted on the map). The inset maps include a “Plan of the Anchorage formed by Green and Confites Kays” and “Plan of the Anchorage formed by Rocky, Mono, Monilo, and other adjacent Bays”.

Joseph Foss Dessiou (1769-1853) Master RN, was one of the leading hydrographers of his day. Both his father, Joseph Dessiou (1743-1822), and one of his two sons, Joseph Foss Dessiou (1792-1818), were also hydrographers. Up to 1802 he served on naval ships, including the Camilla, Albion, Warrior and Dreadnought. Afterwards, he became master of the merchantman Naples. He was responsible for more than fifty charts and sailing directions, the majority of which were published by William Faden. Many of his charts, most notably those of the Channel could and were formed into pilots. In February 1828, he was appointed to the Hydrographical Office, where he helped in the production of the first volume of the Admiralty Pilot and produced several more charts, and numerous tidal charts. He would late become among the first systematic tidal investigators and paid tidal scientists.

William Faden (1750-1836) began his career in cartography after taking over the business of Thomas Jefferys, a highly respected British mapmaker. Initially publishing under the name Faden and Jefferys, he followed his predecessor by specialising in maps of North America, resulting in the publication of a collection of them in the ‘North American Atlas’ in 1777. Twice honoured by the Royal Society for his work, he became Geographer to the King in 1783, and was chosen in 1801 to create and print the first of the Ordnance survey maps.


  1. BLMC Maps SEC.8.(410.)