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Alexander Dalrymple


1737 - 1808

Hydrographer. Born at Newhailes (East Lothian), brother of David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes (1726-92). Dalrymple became the first Hydrographer to the East India Company (1779) and then to the Admiralty (1795). He was involved in the search for a supposed Southern Continent, and was bitterly disappointed when Captain Cook, rather than himself, was selected as commander of the expedition which was to find Australia (1770). He was a difficult man to deal with, having an awkward temperament. This led to his temporary dismissal from the East India Company in 1771 and his sacking from the Admiralty shortly before his death. Yet, during his lifetime, he produced thousands of nautical charts mapping a remarkable number of seas and oceans for the first time and contributing significantly to the safety of shipping.


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