Diary of Antonio De Tova on the Malaspina Expedition (1789-1794)

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The diary of navigation written by Antonio de Tova Arredondo during the Malaspina expedition relates to one of the most important scientific enterprises of all times. References to it appear in important publications in the fields of history and anthropology. Analysis of the original manuscript in comparison with the published version of 1943 resulted in the discovery of some remarkable mysteries, including the addition of an entire chapter in the 1943 version which is nonexistent in the original. In the course of investigations necessary to provide a new and more reliable edition of the diary, many unpublished documents concerning Tova and his diary have come to light after being hidden in the Spanish archives for two centuries.
The reader is introduced to the diary through a broad historical background that explains the political, social, and economic circumstances in Spain during the 18th century and provides a chronological account of European scientific expeditions. There follows a summarized account of Malaspina-Bustamante’s enterprise, the documentation it produced, and a biography of Antonio de Tova. A detailed description of the document, observations, and a concluding analysis close the first part of the work. In an attempt to offer as many useful materials as possible, a selection of the most informative segments of the manuscript and the transcription of the most important documents concerning Tova’s biography and his diary have been included as appendices.Introductory material in English and Spanish. Diary transcription in Spanish.


“The Malaspina Expedition has been given much scholarly attention over two centuries, mostly in Spain but also by a few English and American students of exploration and discovery. Señor Porrúa has made use of the best of it, criticized what seemed unreliable or erroneous, and provided the full Spanish text of Antonio de Tova’s diary of the voyage. ... Extensive research in royal Spanish naval and other archives in Madrid, Santander, and Cadiz turned up much new detail for Señor Porrúa’s introduction and footnotes.” – John Frye

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