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Collins, Captain Greenvile (or Greenville)

Captain Greenvile (or Greenville) Collins was a Royal Navy officer and prominent 17th century hydrographer. He came to the attention of King Charles II for the quality of his journal-keeping during an expedition to find a North-East passage. Many nautical maps of the time were inaccurate and incomplete, and having persuaded the King of the need for an improved survey of the country's coastline, Collins was commissioned in 1681 and appointed by Samuel Pepys (then Secretary to the Admiralty), to chart the coasts of Great Britain. The resulting atlas, Great Britain's Coasting Pilot - sea charts from which we have available for sale below - was the first comprehensive sea atlas produced by an Englishman. Collins was made a younger brother of Trinity House, who supported the project financially. He spent seven years on the survey, the first edition of which was published in 1693. The charts, while not completely accurate, were an enormous improvement on existing maps, entitling Collins to rank as one of the most noteworthy English hydrographers (and indeed cartographers). Twenty-one further editions followed during the 18th century.