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At the close of the Revolution, New England merchants were eager to trade with the East Indies and with Canton, China, in particular. The ship Columbia-Rediviva and the sloop Lady Washington opened the Boston-China Trade by sailing around Cape Horn to the Northwest coast (hence the name of the Columbia River) where they traded for sea otter furs, highly prized in China; on to the Hawaiian Island for sandalwood; and then to Canton. During the course of the voyage, the crews of the Columbia and Lady Washington distributed copies of a medal struck to commemorate the "adventure on the Pacific Ocean." The sponsors also sent a copy to the recently founded Massachusetts Historical Society. When the Columbia returned to Boston by sailing across the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope, it was the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe.
Provenance: Gift of Joseph Barrell on behalf of the merchants who sponsored that voyage.