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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia



After Bougainville, the only new discoveries made by French voyages were the two islands of l'Espérance and Raoul in the Kermadec Islands, discovered by the D'Entrecasteaux Expedition. However, both Bougainville and La Pérouse did add more definite knowledge to the information about the Samoan group. Bougainville passed along to the south of Upolu and, being driven off by the rough weather, saw only one island, which he did not name individually but included under the group name of the Navigator Islands. La Pérouse, on the other hand, saw two islands and gave his version of the native names as Oyolava and Pola. The name Pola seems an attempt to write Upolu, but it appears to have been applied to Savaii and the unconvincing name of Oyolava applied to Upolu. Hence if the credit of discovering Upolu be assigned to Bougainville, the discovery of Savaii should be credited to La Pérouse. Bougainville reached Tahiti nine and one-half months after Wallis, and Marchand arrived at the northwestern islands of the Marquesas two months after their discovery by the American, Joseph Ingraham. The French navigators, including Yves Joseph de Kerguelen Trémarec, made important discoveries in other areas and their contributions to geography must not be judged by their results in the Polynesian area.