This paper will investigate how geographic features were recorded on maps in the eighteenth century in order to outline the construction of geographic knowledge by British mapmakers. Due to practical and economic factors, early modern cartography was a conservative practice based on source compilation and comparison. For the Pacific region especially, the paucity of first-hand observations and the conflicting nature of those observations rendered the world's largest ocean difficult to chart and prone to the retention of mythical continents, passages and islands. After a discussion of the practical and economic reasons why geographic features were difficult to revise on maps, the article focuses on a case study to show how geographic enigmas could be placed and persist. It will use Pepys Island to illustrate the ways in which a chimeric feature could become instilled in geographic parlance.
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