Żegluga Beniowskiego wzdłuż wybrzeży Azji Wschodniej w świetle najnowszych odkryć (wyspy Bonin, Japonia, wyspy Liuqiu, Chiny, Makau)

Edward Kajdański


Benyovszky’s travels along the coast of East Asia in the light of the latest findings (the Bonin Islands, Japan, Liuqiu Islands, China, Macau)

This article presents the latest findings from research on Maurice Benyovszky’s travel through the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean in 1771, with special focus on the implications for the findings carried by the 2011 discovery of Benyovszky’s original map found at the Library of the Institute of Geography of Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. This is the map that he handed over to duc d’Aiguillon, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, after his escape from exile and return to Europe. The time and circumstances of this discovery in the Warsaw collection of the Institute remain unknown. A widespread interest in Benyovszky’s navigation through the Pacific Ocean was first aroused in academic circles in Europe at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, after the 1893 publication of English translation of his Memoirs and Travels, edited by Samuel Pasfield Oliver. The academic dispute that erupted lasted several years and involved many of the contemporary maritime historians and experts familiar with Benyovszky’s life, among them: Prosper Cultru, James Wheeler Davidson, Benedykt Dybowski, János Jankó, Lajos Lewis Kropf, Ignacy Radliński, George Staunton, Lajos Thalloczy and others. Attempts of objective study of Benyovszky’s contribution to maritime exploration resumed in the early 21st century and involved an array of maritime historians from Europe, Asia and America, including the author of this article. The article attempts to summarise the findings from research on Benyovszky’s biography and the implications of those findings for the attitude towards Benyovszky that has prevailed in the world over the last decades, viewing him as an – accidental, but still – explorer, who made it into maritime and exploration history.