The Pacific Journal of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville 1767-1768
Publisher: Hakluyt Society
lxxvii+322 pages with 5 illustrations, 6 maps, bibliography and indexes. Small quarto (10" x 7") issued in original dark blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and pictorial representation of the ship Victoria blind stamped in gilt on cover. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, Third Series, Number 9. Edited by John Dunmore. First edition.
The French had sailed into the Pacific since the later seventeenth century and indeed completed several circumnavigations early in the following century, but the ocean remained largely a Spanish preserve until British navigators began to cross its vast expanse in the mid-1760s. France then became concerned that Britain might establish its superiority in the area, and welcomed Louis de Bougainville's proposal for a voyage of exploration, which was undertaken in 1766-69. Bougainville's first task was to hand over to Spain a colony he had established on the Falkland Islands. This done, he sailed through the still imperfectly-know Straits of Magellan and into the poorly charted southern Pacific. He made a number of discoveries in the south-west, but was much too late to discover Tahiti, where Samuel Wallis had preceded him by less than a year. Reports on Bougainville's reception there and on life in island were to create wide interest and controversy in Europe. He then sailed through the Samoan Islands and on to Vanuatu, as far as the edge of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, and north towards New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He made a number of discoveries, endeavoring to complete the inadequate charts of the times, and leaving his name to a number of features, the best known of which is the island of Bougainville. He returned home by way of the Dutch East Indies and the Indian Ocean. His voyage led to further French voyages to the Pacific, for which Bougainville acted as adviser. His achievements and his influence were recognized in his promotion to rear admiral, his election to the Institut de France, and his appointment as a senator and count by Napoleon I. The bougainvillea flower, discovered during his voyage, was so named in his honor by the expedition's naturalist. Although Bougainville published an account of his voyage in 1771, his original journal was published only in 1977; the present volume makes the latter text available for the first time in English translation
A fine copy in like jacket.
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