A General History And Collection Of Voyages And Travels - Volume 1 - By Robert Kerr


















































































































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In determining upon an era for the commencement of this work, the Editor
was naturally led, from a consideration of - Page 6
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In Determining Upon An Era For The Commencement Of This Work, The Editor Was Naturally Led, From A Consideration Of

The accidental discovery of Iceland by the Norwegians in the ninth century, as coincident with the reign of the great

ALFRED, who ascended the throne of England in 872, to adopt that period as the beginning of the series, both because the commencement of modern maritime discovery took place during the reign of a British sovereign, and because we derive the earliest written accounts of any of these discoveries from the pen of that excellent prince. It is true that the first accidental discovery of Iceland appears to have been made in 861, eleven years before the accession of Alfred to the throne; yet, as the actual colonization of that island did not take place till the year 878, the seventh of his glorious reign, we have been induced to distinguish the actual commencement of maritime discovery by the modern European nations as coinciding with his era.

From that time, till the year 1412, when Don Henry, Prince of Portugal, first began to prosecute a consecutive series of maritime discoveries along the western coast of Africa, during which a long inactive period of 551 years had elapsed, the only maritime incident connected with our subject, was the accidental re-discovery of the Canary or Fortunate Islands, by a nameless Frenchman, about the year 1330, though they were not attempted to be taken possession of till 1400. This long interval, between the eras of King Alfred and Don Henry, constitutes the first Part, or grand division of our work, in the course of which, a considerable number of adventurous travellers penetrated into the almost unknown regions of Tartary and the East, and considerable notices of the empire of China, and even of Japan, and of the coast and islands of India and north-eastern Africa, were communicated to the Europeans by the Polos and others.

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