• Research

    Publications and Presentations
Back To List

Charting the Pearl River Delta

Historical Catalogue Spans Navigation of More than 500 Years in the Pearl River Delta Published by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Publication culminates a multi-year, cross border project and seeks to spearhead scientific, historical and political discussion about navigational and maritime history in the region 
The Hong Kong Maritime Museum has published a seminal reference book that catalogues nearly 1,000 years of pilotage history of the Pearl River Delta, inclusive of Macau, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Pilotage documents across multiple languages include charts, sailing directions, views and a bibliography of reference materials. The project, funded by the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, was initiated and completed under HKMM Museum directors Stephen Davies, PhD, and Richard Wesley, respectively. 
The comprehensive large-format book is designed to be a catalyst for scholars, researchers and subject matter experts to study and contribute to scientific, historical and the political issues of the Pearl River Delta. Today, the Pearl River Delta is one of the busiest shipping regions in the world and the publication is a window through which to look back on the maritime history of the region, an extensive network of rivers and an important commercial centre for the whole of Southern China from the Tang dynasty to present day.
The new reference sources document from libraries and museums worldwide, including the National Palace Museum, Taipei and the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Highlights of the reference document include: 
  • Important hydrographers are catalogued such are Alexander Dalrymple from the East India Company and Captain Sir Richard Collinson, among others; 
  • Charts in French, German and Japanese are examples of the political interests in the region and different charting techniques used historically; 
  • Thirty-four beautifully illustrated maps, notably Ming and Qing dynasty coastal fortifications (dated 1524-1526) and a sketch of Typa and Macao – along with survey notes – made by Captain James Cook and William Bligh (1784); and 
  • An extensive bibliography of 48 source materials can be expanded over time with input from scholars and sailing and maritime enthusiasts worldwide.  

Inquiries can be directed to Mr. Richard Wesley, Museum Director, Hong Kong Maritime Museum at +852 3713 2500 or richardwesley@hkmaritimemuseum.org.