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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology


page 22


Byron's voyage was immediately followed by one under Captain Samuel Wallis, who took over the Dolphin, her copper sheathing having been considered a success. With him sailed the sloop Swallow, commanded by Philip Cartaret, who had been first lieutenant of the Tamar in Byron's expedition. The Admiralty orders were that Wallis should search for the southern continent and, failing that, search for land in the Pacific on latitude 20° S. The ships sailed from Plymouth Sound on August 22, 1766. After passing through the Strait of Magellan and entering the Pacific on April 11, 1767, the Swallow parted company with the Dolphin during a storm and was considered lost. Wallis sailed northwest to latitude 20° S. and then sailed west along it. His course was farther south than that of Byron, with the result that he sailed through the middle of the Tuamotu Archipelago. His first discovery was Pinaki on June 6, 1767, and as the day was Whitsunday Eve, he named the island Whitsunday. He discovered five more atolls, which he named as follows: Queen Charlotte (Nukutavake), Egmont (Vairatea), Gloucester (Paraoa), Cumberland (Manuhangi), and Prince William Henry (Nengonengo). He then came to Osnaburgh (Meetia), the most easterly island in what came to be known later as the Society Islands. His greatest discovery occurred the next day, June 18, when he reached the large volcanic island of Tahiti, which he named King George III Island. He anchored in Matavai Bay, which became the anchorage for subsequent voyagers until the passage through the reef near Papeete became known. His first reception was hostile, but the most friendly relations were established later with Queen Oberea (Purea) and her people. A month's stay cured the sick and provisioned the ship.

Wallis sailed past Moorea, which he named Duke of York Island, and then encountered three more islands belonging to the group. He named them Sir Charles Saunders Island (Tapuaemanu), Lord Howe Island (Mopiha) and Scilly Islands (Fenuaura). Proceeding west, he encountered Tafahi and Niuatobutabu, previously discovered by Le Maire and Schouten, and named them Boscawen and Keppel. Turning northward, he discovered Uvea, which his men named Wallis Island in his honor. He left Polynesia and touched at Tinian, Batavia, and the Cape of Good Hope on his way home to England, arriving at the Downs on May 30, 1766.