Claiborne, United States Exploring Expedition

Scope and Content

  • MS 466/12/1-2;MJ Journals (2), 19 August 1838 to 23 March 1842 [On board Porpoise and Relief] microfilm

Administrative / Biographical History

The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 (Senior commander Charles Wilkes) undertook a major exploration of the southern oceans including the Polar Regions. Upon reaching Tierra del Fuego the squadron divided. Porpoise and Sea Gull sailed to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsular. Following work in the Pacific ocean the vassals returned to the Antarctic sailing along the west coast of Wilkes Land, visiting Macquarie Island and searched for the non existent 'Emerald Island'. Relief, the expedition store ship was sent home when it became clear she was unfit for the rough seas of the southern oceans. The expedition was the first to delineate a substantial length of the Antarctic coastline; enough to establish that there was a landmass of continental size behind it. The published charts of the expedition were the earliest to use the term Antarctic Continent.

Alternative Form Available

These journals are copies.

Related Material

See SPRI collection GB 015 United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 for a fuller list of archival collections held by the Institute containing material on this expedition.

Additional Information

The original journals are held by United States National Archive, Washington, U.S.A. (1982)