James Rennell

(1742—1830) cartographer

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British surveyor active in Bengal. James Rennell, surveyor and geographer, was born in Devon, England, on December 3, 1742, and died in London on March 29, 1830. Sometimes called the “father of Indian geography” for his pioneering mapping in India from 1764, he has also been considered “the first great English geographer.” Neither term is fully merited, but the terms illustrate Rennell's active and productive life lived in two unequal chapters. From joining the Royal Navy in 1756, Rennell was successively naval officer, explorer, and East India Company surveyor in Bengal until 1777. Upon his return to London, he spent the remaining years of his life studying geography, including African mapping and physical and ancient geography, and working on a posthumously published work on ocean currents.


From The Oxford Companion to World Exploration in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: World History.

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