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Speciel Kaart fra Kiarlarnæs til Mölshöfde

Hans Erik Minor
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When the survey of 1721-1734 by Magnús Arason and Thomas Hans Henrik Knoff was complete, the Danish authorities were in no hurry to undertake further work of this kind. Some individuals realised that the lack of charts of the coasts and the neighbouring sea-lanes was likely to lead to difficulties, and the matter was not allowed to rest, but nothing was actually done, even though advice was sought and plans made. It was a serious inconvenience to the trading companies not to be able to find anywhere information as to the most suitable and safest entries to the various harbours. All kinds of accidents and losses were the result. It is also likely that the French expedition to the North Atlantic may have provoked the Danes into getting down to work, and that they did not regard it entirely without concern.
In 1776 an experienced Danish captain in the service of the trading company was sent to Iceland, Hans Erik Minor by name. His task was to survey all the coasts and harbours, and investigate the fishing grounds and everything else involved in the preparation of charts. Minor worked for two summers, by which time he had completed his survey of the area from Reykjanes via Faxaflói and the northern part of Snæfellsnes as far as Stykkishólmur. He returned to Iceland again in the spring 1778 intending to continue the work, but fell overboard and was drowned in Hafnarfjördur shortly after his arrival.
The survey was suspended for the time being and put off for nearly a quarter of a century in spite of undertakings that it would be resumed.
Before his death, Minor had completed an overall chart of the whole area of the survey as well as separate charts on a larger scale for individual sectors and all places which he considered suitable for harbours. His originals are still preserved in the Danish Hydrographic Office in Copenhagen. They were not printed at the time, until 1788, when Poul de Løvenørn published them with a few corrections and alterations.
Løvenørn's publication of Minor's charts and the accompanying description of the coasts marked an end of an important chapter, and applied to precisely those regions where most sailing could be expected. But there was still a long way to go before the projected task of surveying and charting all the coasts of the country was completed.
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