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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology



France, recognizing the justice of Spain's protest against their establishment of a French colony in the Malouines (Falkland Islands), in 1764, delegated Louis de Bougainville to officially return the colony to Spain. Bougainville, in command of the frigate Boudeuse, sailed from France in November 1766. He was to be joined by the store ship l'Etoile which was to accompany him across the Pacific to the East Indies. Having handed over the settlement in the Falkland Islands on April 1, 1767, Bougainville was delayed by the l'Etoile, which did not arrive on time. Finally the Boudeuse and l'Etoile passed through the Strait of Magellan and entered the Pacific on January 26, 1778. Bougainville, after a vain search for the land reported by Davis, the buccaneer, sailed west between the courses followed by Byron and Wallis and consequently discovered a new series of atolls in the Tuamotus. He named his first discovery Les quatres Facardins after four islets in Vahitahi. Farther on, he discovered Akiaki, which he named Isle de Lanciers because the natives were armed with spears. The next day, Hao was sighted and named Isle de Harpe after its supposed resemblance in general shape to that instrument. Cook later named it Bow Island because of its resemblance in shape to the bow. Bougainville saw other islands to the west and designating them, collectively, the Dangerous Archipelago, he veered south to avoid them. On April 2, he sighted the peak of Meetia and made Tahiti. He was hospitably received and, accordingly, named the island La Nouvelle Cythere. After a stay of a fortnight, he continued west, passing Tapuaemanu, and reached the three Samoan islands of the Manua group which Roggeveen had named the Baumann Islands. The next day he sighted Tutuila, and farther on he sailed along the south coast of a large island which must have been Upolu. A limited trade was carried on with the canoes which came out. As some of them sailed around the ship while she was under way, Bougainville named the group the Navigator Islands. Bougainville passed on through Melanesia to New Britain, Batavia, and the Cape of Good Hope, and anchored at St. Malo on March 16, 1779.