Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology



It seems fitting that the first authentic discovery in Polynesia should have been made by Mendaña, but it was more than 30 years after his discovery of the Solomons before the Spanish authorities acceded to his request to fit out an expedition to visit them. Finally, he was given four ships for the expedition. He put out from Callao on April 9, 1595, worked up the coast, and sailed from Payta. On July 28, he sighted an island which he at first thought was part of the Solomons. He named it Magdalena (Fatuhiva) and three other islands were successively named San Pedro (Motane), Dominica (Hivaoa), and Santa Christina (Tahuata). Recognizing the islands as a new discovery, he named the group Islas de Marquesas de Mendoza after the Marquis Mendoza, the Viceroy of Peru. The islands, which became more widely known under the shorter name of the Marquesas, formed the southeastern part of a much larger group.

Continuing west, Mendaña failed to reach the Solomons but landed farther south at the Melanesian group of Santa Cruz, where he died. The remains of the expedition found its way to the Philippines under the guidance of Quiros. After some time, Quiros found his way back to Acapulco by following the northern Spanish route in the vicinity of latitude 35° N. Thus Mendaña made the first discovery in Polynesia and his recorded description of the inhabitants of the Marquesas provides the first source material on the ethnology of a Polynesian group.