The Richard Hakluyt 'Principal Navigations' editorial project

 Cap. Davies, Sr Walter Ralegh, Sr Hugh Willoughby, Cap. Smith'England's famous discoverers', PU3722

The Hakluyt Conference, May 2008

Jointly organized by the National Maritime Museum, The Centre for Travel Writing Studies, Nottingham Trent University and the National University of Ireland, Galway, this interdisciplinary conference (15-17 May 2008) held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich addressed the significance of the work of Richard Hakluyt, the prolific collector and editor of first-hand discovery and adventure narratives, and author of The Principall Navigations (1589), expanded as The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, 3 volumes (1598-1600).

The conference was programmed by Dr Daniel Carey, National University of Ireland, Galway and Professor Claire Jowitt, Nottingham Trent University. The conference was generously supported by The British Academy, Bernard Quaritch Ltd., Antiquarian booksellers since 1847; The Hakluyt Society and The Society for Renaissance Studies.


We are pleased to announce that the proceedings of the conference are to be published by Ashgate as part of the Hakluyt Society Extra Series. Edited by Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt Richard Hakluyt and Collected Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe includes 26 essays by internationally renowned experts as well as young scholars.

The Hakluyt Editorial Project

A key aim of the conference was to establish a consortium interested in preparing a new scholarly edition of Hakluyt's Principal Navigations for the 21st entury. This group – comprising Dr Nigel Rigby (NMM), Professor Will Ryan (President of the Hakluyt Society) and the General Editors of the project, Dr Daniel Carey (NUI, Galway), Professor Andrew Hadfield (Sussex) and Professor Claire Jowitt (NTU) – has now met several times to discuss next steps. 

Appointment of a Research Assistant to work on the project

With the financial support of the British Academy and NTU, a Research Assistant has been appointed to contribute to the planning and production of the new Critical Edition of Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (3 vols., 1598-1600). We are delighted to announce that Colm MacCrossan has joined the project. Colm's PhD from the University of Reading examines examines the production of the image of 'the English nation' in The Principal Navigations (1598-1600).

Latest news

A Call for Information

Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1598-1600) has been of enduring interest to scholars and general readers for over four centuries. Work has recently begun on a new, scholarly edition of the text under the General Editorship of Dr Daniel Carey (National University of Ireland, Galway), Professor Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex) and Professor Claire Jowitt (Nottingham Trent University), in consultation with Dr Nigel Rigby (National Maritime Museum) and Professor Will Ryan (Hakluyt Society).

The General Editors of the new edition of The Principal Navigations would like to draw on the combined resources of readers and scholars from all backgrounds and disciplines to make this edition as useful, accurate, and up-to-date as possible. We are therefore calling for any unpublished items of information relevant to this project.

The Principal Navigations consists of hundreds of individual documents, ranging from accounts of diplomatic and trade missions, to translations of foreign works, letters patent, to travel narratives encompassing the globe.

Information likely to be useful could include:

  • Details about individuals named in the text, particularly non-English individuals and less-well-known English figures not represented in published biographies, or in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Information regarding places named or otherwise identified in the text.
  • Information on ships, commodities, flora and fauna named or described in the text.
  • Suggestions regarding literary, classical or historical allusions in the text.
  • Observations relating to translations and non-English words in the text.
  • Queries or amendments to previously published information on the above.
  • Identification of specific sources and analogues for narratives and documents in the collection.
  • Observations regarding continuities, conflicts and overlaps between elements of the text.

Assistance with this ambitious editorial project would be very welcome. Contributors to this Call for Information will be acknowledged and listed in the preface to the edition or in footnotes as appropriate if their information is used (we ask you to identify yourself clearly for this purpose). Contributors are also asked to confirm whether the information they supply may be freely published in the edition, or whether further permissions will need to be obtained.

Please address items to:

Colm MacCrossan
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Hakluyt Project
School of Arts and Humanities
Nottingham Trent University
NG11 8NS

General enquiries about the project


November 2010: Oxford University Press to publish Richard Hakluyt, 'The Principal Navigations'

We are delighted to announce a number of significant steps forward for the Hakluyt Project. Oxford University Press has contracted a critical edition of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1598–1600), scheduled to appear in 14 volumes between 2014 and 2016.

The General Editors are Daniel Carey (National University of Ireland, Galway) and Claire Jowitt (Nottingham Trent University). Each volume will contain unabridged text, accompanied by scholarly annotation providing historical contextualisation, biographical information, notes on sources, and more. The edition will follow the original ordering of the 1598–1600 text, with the first volume containing a substantial introduction. The final volume will contain a newly-compiled index.

An international team of experts has been recruited to edit the text:

  • Vol. 1: Professor Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen
  • Vol. 2: Professor Marshall Poe, University of Iowa and Professor Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen
  • Vol. 3: Dr Ladan Niayesh, University of Paris VII and Professor Marshall Poe, University of Iowa
  • Vol. 4: Professor Anna Agnarsdóttir, University of Iceland and Professor Michael Brennan, University of Leeds
  • Vol. 5: Professor Richmond Barbour, Oregon State University and Dr Matthew Dimmock, University of Sussex
  • Vol. 6: Dr Nandini Das, University of Liverpool
  • Vol. 7: Professor Bernhard Klein, University of Kent and Professor Steve Mentz, St. John’s University, NY
  • Vol. 8: Professor Anthony Parr, University of the Western Cape and Dr David Trim, Director, Archives of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Silver Spring
  • Vol. 9: Dr Matthew Day, Newman University College and Professor Mary Fuller, MIT
  • Vol. 10: Professor John T. McGrath, Department of History, Boston University and Professor Michael Leroy Oberg, SUNY Geneseo
  • Vol. 11: Professor Alison Sandman, James Madison University and Professor Nicolás Wey-Gómez, California Institute of Technology
  • Vol. 12: Dr Colm MacCrossan, Nottingham Trent University
  • Vol. 13: Professor Joyce Lorimer, Wilfred Laurier University
  • Vol. 14: Professor Claire Jowitt, Nottingham Trent University

Editorial Board

An Editorial Board has been convened to assist the General Editors and to provide oversight to the project:

  • Dr Surekha Davies, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Professor Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex
  • Professor Karen Ordahl Kupperman, New York University
  • Anthony Payne, Hakluyt Society
  • Dr Nigel Rigby, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
  • Dr Joan-Pau Rubiés, London School of Economics
  • Professor Will Ryan, Ex Officio, President of the Hakluyt Society

Editorial Advisers

In addition to the Editorial Board, a further panel of distinguished scholars has agreed to act as Advisors on a range of specialist aspects of the text:

  • Professor Peter Jackson, Keele University
  • Professor Peter Mancall, University of Southern California
  • Dr. M. Antoni Üçerler, S.J., Oxford University

We welcome all of the Editorial Board members, Editorial Advisors and Volume Editors to the Project, and look forward to their individual and shared contributions in the coming years.


We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in gaining a number of research awards to fund aspects of the Hakluyt Project.

The British Academy and the National University of Ireland, Galway, have provided grants to support the first Hakluyt Project Editorial Workshop 12–13 January 2011, hosted by the National Maritime Museum.

We have received an award from the Modern Humanities Research Association to provide a Research Assistant for the Project. This award, together with continued financial support from Nottingham Trent University, has enabled us to appoint a Research Assistant to support the Project until September 2012. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Hakluyt Society for contributing to the costs of research assistance for the Project.

In addition Claire Jowitt has been awarded a British Academy Research Development Award to support her preparation of Volume 14 of the new edition.

Call for Information

Finally, we would like to thank respondents to the Call for Information for their contributions and offers of future assistance to the project. The Call remains open and further responses will be warmly welcomed: information should be sent to

Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt, General Editors.