Open main menu

Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Harmand, Louis Gustave

< Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography

HARMAND, Louis Gustave, French pilot, b. in Dieppe, France, in 1503; d. in Acapulco, New Spain, in 1549. He had served in the French navy, and in 1541 offered his services to Antonio de Mendoza, then viceroy of New Spain, who attached him to the expedition commanded by Vasquez de Coronado and Fray Marcos de Niza. On his return, Mendoza appointed him chief pilot, and in 1543 sent him to explore the coasts of California. He sailed in a small brig on 20 March, 1543, and kept always in sight of the land, making charts, and advancing three degrees farther than Hermand de Alarcon in the Gulf of California. He rectified the map of Alarcon, and brought back proof that California is not an island, as had been believed. Harmand landed several times, and collected some interesting traditions current among the natives, which he published under the title “Les indigenes de la California” (Paris, 1647). A copy of the original edition, probably the only one now in existence, is in the National library of Paris. It has been reprinted by Ternaux Compans, the historian of the discovery of South America, in his collection. Harmand's map of California is wonderfully exact, considering that the navigator had scarcely any instrument.