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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia

French Explorers of the Eighteenth Century

French Explorers of the Eighteenth Century

France had established a colony at the Falkland Islands (Malouines) in 1764. Spain, however, claimed that the islands belonged to the continent of South America, and France acknowledged Spain's right in 1776, when Louis de Bougainville was ordered to proceed to the Falklands to deliver them officially to the Spaniards. He was also ordered to proceed to the East Indies by crossing the south seas between the tropics. Bougainville's trip seemed to awaken France to the advisability of taking a share in the investigations and the profits that might accrue therefrom. However, the Government did not move until it sent La Pérouse out in 1785, though two minor voyages were made before that for business purposes. A chronological list of French explorers follows:

Date Commander Ships Islands Visited
1766-1769 Bougainville Boudeuse and Étoile Tuamotus, Society, Samoa
1769-1770 Surville St. Jean Baptiste New Zealand
1771-1773 Marion de Fresne, Crozet Mascarin and Marquis de Castries New Zealand
1785-1788 La Pérouse Boussole and Astrolabe Hawaii, Easter, Tonga, Samoa
1790-1792 Marchand Solide Marquesas, Hawaii
1791-1793 D'Entrecasteaux Recherche and Espérance New Zealand, Tonga