StampNews.com hurries to introduce to our readers’ attention four special stamps by Pitcairn Island Post that discovers the history of island through its stamps.
The items feature such ancient and meaningful maps as Bayly Map 1773, Beechey Map 1825, Christian Map 1961, Evans Map 2005. Let’s dive into the history of Pitcairn Island and appreciate the design of these items together!
Bayly Map 1773 stamp ($0.20c)
In 1766 Captain Philip Carteret was given the command of the HMS Swallow to circumnavigate the world as consort to the HMS Dolphin. The two ships were parted shortly after sailing through the Strait of Magellan but Carteret continued, discovering Pitcairn island in 1767 and the Carteret Islands, which were subsequently named after him.
Carteret’s journals enabled John Abraham Bayly to draw and engrave the nautical chart shown. Relief is shown by hachures and shading while sea-depth was made by soundings.
The mutineers of the Bounty were able to find Pitcairn Island and make it their refuge in January 1790 because onboard the Bounty they had John Hawkesworth’s volumes and had read the report of Carteret’s discovery (which contained longitude errors). That they found the island despite the errors is remarkable. Carteret’s inaccurate longitude was not corrected until February 1808 when Captain Folger visited in HMS Topaz.
Beechey Map 1825 stamp ($1.00)
Captain F. W. Beechey (1796-1856) after entering the Royal Navy saw active service during the wars with France and America. He was appointed commander of the H.M.S. Blossom in 1825, the purpose of which was primarily exploration, mostly in the Pacific Ocean. Soon after entering the Pacific, Beechey came across Ducie Island, then Henderson Island, and finally on December 4th 1825 they sighted Pitcairn Island.
Beechey and his crew mingled with the Pitcairners, still including the mutineer John Adams, who willingly spoke of the history of the Bounty and Pitcairn. Beechey also had the island mapped for the first time since Carteret, which was a definite improvement. This map which is a nautical chart with depths shown by bathymetric soundings, was still in use on most ships until the latter years of the 20th century.
Christian Map 1961 stamp ($2.10)
Frederick Martin "Fred" Christian (1883 – 1971) was the Chief Magistrate of Pitcairn Island on three occasions between 1921 and 1943. Fred was related to several other island leaders, notably brother Edgar Christian, cousins Gerard Christian and Parkin Christian and grandfather Thursday October Christian II. While the outline of Pitcairn’s coastline is a little crude, the Island content is remarkably detailed. The basic illustrations serve to make this a unique historical document and deserving of being included in this issue.
Evans Map 2005 stamp ($4.40)
A retired geophysicist living in Alaska, David has visited Pitcairn numerous times. His first trip was to operate a satellite tracking station on the Island doing a worldwide mapping project. He wrote Pitcairn’s first ever travel guidebook, Pitkern IIan, which was self-published in 2007. The book contains many maps and photographs and apart from Island facts and figures, it details “How to Get There” instructions for visitors.