S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Alexander, Captain T (hydrography, cartography )

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Captain T. Alexander made the first systematic survey of the west coast of southern Africa. He was despatched in HMS Star by Commodore J. Blankett, commander at the Cape after its first annexation by the British in 1795. Leaving on 5 December that year Alexander made a rapid survey of the coast from St Helena Bay (33º S) to southern Angola (16º S), reaching his northern limit on 20 January 1796. His report was entitled Remarks on board His Majesty's Sloop Star on a cruise along the Western coast of Africa (1795). Of the names he gave to coastal features only Spencer Bay has survived. It is situated north of Luderitz, Namibia, and was named after Earl Spencer, then First Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty. Alexander took posession of various places along the coast in the name of King George III, but his claims were regarded as invalid as he failed to comply with prevailing standards of international law. He compiled a description of the whole coast, with latitudes, longitudes and soundings, as well as plans of Angra Pequena (Luderitz Bay) and Spencer Bay, for the newly established Hydrographic Office.

List of sources:

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za

Kinahan, J. By command of their lordships: The exploration of the Namibian coast by the Royal Navy, 1795-1895. Windhoek: Namibian Archaeological Trust, 1992.

Compiled by: C. Plug