Voyage Autour du Monde, par la Fregate du Roi La Boudeuse et la Flute l'Etoile
Publisher: Chez Saillant & Nyon
+417+ pages with 3 engraved plates, 20 engraved maps (16 folding). Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 7 1/2") bound in mottled calf antique preserving original marbled end papers with five raised spine bands in gilt and red label. (Hill 163; Sabin 6864.) First edition.
Louis Antoine de Bougainville was was a French admiral and explorer. 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 navigation began to cross its vast expanse in the mid-1700's. France became concerned that Britain might establish its superiority in the area, and welcomed Bougainville's proposal for a voyage of exploration, which was undertaken in 1766-9. Bougainville's first task was to hand over to Spain a colony he had established on the Falkland Islands in 1764. This done, he sailed through the still imperfectly known Straights of Magellan and into the poorly charted southern Pacific. He made a number of discoveries in the southwest, but was much to 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 the island were to create wide interest and controversy in Europe. He then sailed through the Samoan Island and on to Vanuatu, as far as the edge of 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 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 he acted as adviser.
Light edge wear else a better than very good copy.
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