contents


 

brian hooker

new zealand

 

 

© The text that follows is copyright. This article was originally published in Terrae Incognitae, volume 36 (2004) pp. 20-27. Copyright is held by The Society for the History of Discoveries. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, no part may be reproduced without prior permission from the Society.

 


 

The European discovery of the Tonga Islands

 

by

 

Brian Hooker


 

the purpose of this paper is to review the European discovery of the main islands and islets, which comprise the Kingdom of Tonga and confirm the name of each discoverer. [fn. 1. Orthography and place-names follow official Kingdom of Tonga usage.]

 

There is no disagreement among scholars concerning the names of the discoverers. The novelties in the paper are the review encompassing the modern political-geographic extent of the kingdom, and the bringing together of the various separate accounts of discoveries under one main heading. Possibly another innovation is the inclusion of Fonuafo’ou, a volcanic island that has disappeared and risen again over the years. This discovery is credited to the Spanish explorer Francisco Antonio Maurelle, in 1781.

The archipelago was united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga acquired its independence in 1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Tonga today consists of around 171 widely-scattered islands and islets, lying between approximately latitudes 18
O 00’ south, and 21O 30' south and approximately longitudes 173O 30’ west, and 175O 30 ' west. (See the  accompanying modern map - click on the thumbnail.)

The kingdom can be divided into three main groups, namely the Tongatapu, Ha'apai, and Vava’u groups, which stretch in a north-north-easterly direction, in the order named, for a distance of 175 miles from Tongatapu, an island of the southernmost group.

[fn. 2. Descriptions and positions of the islands are based on data published in, Sailing Directions (Enroute) - For the Pacific Islands, 1992, 4th ed. (Bethesda, Maryland: Defence Mapping Agency Hydrographic/Topographic Centre) Pub. 126, and, Pacific Islands Pilot, 3 vols, Taunton: Hydrographer of the Navy, (10th ed.), 1984.]

The three subgroups of Nomuka, ‘Otu Tolu and Kotu lie between the Tongatapu group and Ha’apai group. ‘Ata is part of the Tongatapu group. The outlying islands of Niuatoputapu, Tafahi, and Niuafo’ou are included in the kingdom.

The bulk of the population, estimated today at 104,000, reside in the main island of Tongatapu where the administrative centre, Nuku’alofa, is located.

The first settlers in the Tonga lslands were Polynesians who preceded European navigators by about two to three thousand years. Jacob Le Maire, the Dutch explorer was the first European to record details of Tongan people, their culture and vessels.

The reviews that follow are arranged in numbered sections in chronological order.

1. Tafahi, Niuatoputapu, Niuafo’ou

[fn. 3. The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, W.A. Engelbrecht en P.J. van Herwerden, De Ontdekkingsreis van Jacob Le Maire en Willem Cornelisz. Schouten in de Jaren 1615-1617, 2 vols,’s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1945 (Werken uitgegeven door de Linschoten-Vereeniging, vol. 49). I also consulted J. A. de Villiers, ed., and transl., The East and, West Indian Mirror, being an account of Joris van Spilbergen's voyage round the World (1614-1617), and the Australian Navigations of Jacob Le Maire, (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1906), ser. 2, No. 18.] The first European discoveries in the Tonga Islands were made in 1616. In 1615, Isaäc Le Maire, an Amsterdam merchant and Willem Corneliszoon Schouten, a noted navigator, formed a company, which was granted a charter by the States-General of the Netherlands to trade in Tartary, China, Japan, Terra Australis, and the islands of the South Sea. However, their ships were prohibited from entering eastern waters by the only two known approaches, through the Strait of Magellan, or by rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

An expedition under the command of Jacob Le Maire, son of Isaäc, left the harbour of Texel with two ships on 14 June 1615 and headed south-west. Following their discovery of a new strait south of the Strait of Magellan (Le Maire Strait), the explorers, now with only one ship, the Eendracht, headed for Juan Fernández Islands in the south-east Pacific. Unable to land, they proceeded to the north-west, until on 10 April 1616 they sighted their first island in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Pukapuka.

During their westerly course, Le Maire and Schouten made a number of discoveries in the Tuamotus. Continuing to sail west, they kept to a more southerly latitude than earlier European navigators did.

At noon on 9 May 1616, the Netherlanders encountered a Polynesian sailing-vessel and the next day, a very high island was sighted, with another, longer and flatter, one league to the south of it. A large number of canoes met the explorers when they came to anchor at the northern island, named by Le Maire "Cocos Eylandt" ("Coconut Trees Island"). In his journal, Le Maire describes the other island as much longer, but lower, extending east and west; it was named "Verraders Eylant" ("Traitors Island"), because that was where the people came from when they were attacked. Schouten took the latitude of the anchorage at "Cocos Eylandt" as 16
O 10´ south. The visitors bartered beads and old nails for bananas, yams, fowls, a few small pigs, and a large number of coconuts. The people were both friendly and hostile and Le Maire noticed the skills of the Polynesian sailors, both men and women.

Le Maire's description and the reported latitude confirm that the two discoveries were Tafahi ("Cocos Eylandt) and Niuatoputapu ("Verraders Eylant") which is about seven miles south of Tafahi. The two islands with Niuafo'ou comprise the Niuatoputapu Group (or the Niuas). Tafahi is a conical-shaped wooded islet, which rises to a height of 610 metres; it lies in latitude 15
O 51´ south; longitude 173O 44´ west. Some maps note the island as volcanic. There is a square-shaped hill which rises to 146 metres near the middle of Niuatoputapu which lies in latitude 16O south; longitude 173O 47´west.

Leaving the vicinity of Tafahi and Niuatoputapu on 13 May 1616, the Eendracht came the next day to a small, hilly island, estimated to be 30 leagues from the previous discoveries. The latitude of this island, which was found to be inhabited, was taken as 16
O south. The discovery was named "Eylant van goede hope" ("Island of Good Hope").

Unmistakable as Niuafo’ou, this craggy volcanic island, about 120 miles west of Tafahi, is sometimes named in maps “Tin Can Island". Since 30 Dutch leagues equal 120 miles Le Maire's estimate of 30 leagues from Tafahi and Niuatoputapu to Niuafo’ou was remarkably accurate. The well-wooded island, which lies in latitude 15
O 36´ south, rises to 260 metres at its northern side. A lagoon in an old crater in the middle of the island contains hot springs and traces of volcanic action.

Continuing their voyage to the west Le Maire and Schouten made a number of further discoveries including the islands of Cocos and Horne. On arrival at Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies, they were arrested and their ship and possessions confiscated by the Governor-General who did not accept their claim of the newly discovered strait into the Pacific. Le Maire died during a forced voyage back to the Netherlands.

2. ‘Ata, Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Hunga Ha’apai, Hunga Tonga, Kelefesia, Tonumea, Nomuka Group, Kotu Group, Tofua, Kao, and Late
 

[fn. 4. The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, Andrew Sharp, The Voyages of Abel Janszoon Tasman (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968). I also consulted, R.P. Meyjes De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher Ter Nadere Ontdekking van Het Zuidland in 1642/3 en 1644, ’s Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1919 (Werken uitgegeven door de Linschoten-Vereeniging, vol. 17).] In 1642 the Dutch East India Company authorities at Batavia decided on a very ambitious plan which was to dispatch an expedition into unknown southern and eastern seas. Part of the plan was to investigate an idea that a passage might exist from the Indian Ocean through to the South Pacific and thus provide a new route to Chile. Two ships the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen, under the command of Abel Janszoon Tasman, sailed from Batavia on 14 August 1642. The expedition called at Mauritius, then steered south and east to discover parts of Tasmania and a section of the west coast of New Zealand. On 5 January 1643, after leaving the vicinity of New Zealand, a council meeting held on the Heemskerck, resolved that the ships should run east to longitude 220O east of Tenerife (viz 156O 39´ west of Greenwich), and north to latitude 17O south. Then it was planned to sail west to refresh at the islands of Cocos and Horne, which Tasman knew had been discovered during Le Maire's traverse of the Pacific in 1616. 

North of New Zealand, the wind forced the expedition north-east, and on the afternoon of 19 January, Tasman saw land in latitude 22
O 35´ south.

 

The longitude was taken as 204O 15´ east of Tenerife (viz 172O 24´ west of Greenwich). In his journal Tasman describes the island as appearing "like 2 women's breasts" when viewed from the ship "east by north 6 miles". He estimated that the island was about two to three miles round, high, steep and barren. Tasman named his discovery “ ‘t hooge pijlsteeren eijlant" (High Tropic-bird Island), after the narrow-tailed tropic-birds which flew about it.
 

Tasman's description, a sketch in his journal, and the reported latitude, confirms that his discovery was ‘Ata the most southern of the Tonga Islands. It is a well-wooded island having two peaks of about the same elevation, the northern and highest one reaching to about 355 metres. About 2.5 kilometres long it lies in latitude 22O 20´ south; longitude 176O 13´west.

The next day, 20 January 1643, north-east of ‘Ata, Tasman came to two islands lying nearly south-east and north-west of each other with a passage between them "about l½ mile wide", the one to the south-east being the higher. The northernmost, was the larger, being a low-lying one. Anchoring the expedition at a point on the north-west coast of the northern island the latitude was taken as 21
O 20´ south and the longitude as 205O 29´ east of Tenerife (viz 171O 10´ west of Greenwich).

Tasman named the northernmost island “t’ Eijlandt Amsterdam", because of the abundance of supplies, and the southernmost island was named "t’ Middelburch." The area of the anchorage off the northwest of "Amsterdam" was named “Van Diemens Reede” ("Van Diemen's Roadstead"), and the large bay on the northern side of "Amsterdam" was named "Marias Bay". At "Amsterdam", Tasman and his companions had many friendly contacts with the inhabitants, described in Tasman's journal as tall. Entertained by a chief, Tasman noticed a large double canoe as well as smaller canoes. The local people provided the Dutchmen with supplies of pigs, fish, fowls, yams, coconuts, bananas, and other fruits in exchange for nails, knives, and clothes.

Two islands, which are about 75 and 85 miles northeast of ‘Ata and conform in approximate latitude and description with Tasman's discoveries, are ‘Eua and Tongatapu. ‘Eua, which is the southernmost island of the Tongatapu group lies in latitude 21
O 22´ south; longitude 174O 56´ west; it is 17 kilometres long in a north and south direction, nearly 6.5 kilometres wide, and rises to about 312 metres near the centre of its western side.

Tongatapu, the principal island of the Tonga Islands consists of coral and limestone with fertile soil. Approximately triangular, it is about 29 kilometres long, 14 kilometres wide and mostly level. Niu’aunofo Point, the northwestern extremity lies in latitude 21
O 4´ south; longitude 175O 20´ west.

Quitting the vicinity of Tongatapu on 24 January 1643, Tasman headed northeast and sailed past two islets that the Dutchmen had noticed from their anchorage at Tongatapu. In his journal, Tasman describes these islets as "high but small," about one to l½ mile in circuit"; they were about seven to eight miles from the ships, north by west and estimated to lie in latitude 20
O 5O´ south; longitude 206O 46´ east of Tenerife (viz 169O 53´ west of Greenwich). In the sectional chart that accompanies Tasman's manuscript journal these islets are marked but un-named.

Hunga Ha’apai and Hunga Tonga, about one mile apart, were undoubtedly the two islets sighted by Tasman on 24 January; they are about 31 miles northward of the northwestern tip of Tongatapu. Hunga Ha’apai rises to about 122 metres and a peak on Hunga Tonga rises to about 150 metres. Hunga Ha'apai lies in latitude 20
O 33´ south; longitude 175O 25´ west.

Sailing on from the vicinity of Hunga Ha’apai and Hunga Tonga on the same day, 24 January, Tasman discovered a group of islands consisting of one larger low-lying island with three small low-lying islets to the east and another two islets south-east of it. To the north-west was a large, high island, close to the east of which was a round and much higher island. Tasman anchored at the western side of the large low-lying island with the islets round it and calculated the latitude as 20
O 30´ south. The island was named “t' Eijlandt Rotterdam" ("Rotterdam Island"), and the anchorage was named "Vanderlins Reede" ("Vanderlins Roadstead"). The bay on the northern side of "Rotterdam" was named "Justus Schoutens Baij". Tasman remained until 1 February and during the time spent there, he visited a village and noticed very neatly laid out gardens. The inhabitants were found to be peaceful. Fruit was plentiful and the water casks were filled at leisure. The Dutchmen exchanged cloth, beads, knives, mirrors, and other items for coconuts, yams, bananas, pigs and water.
The position of the anchorage was taken as latitude 20
O 15´ south; longitude 206O 19´ east of Tenerife (viz 170O 20´ west of Greenwich). It was observed that the coral reef had an opening at the west end. A further seven islets, all surrounded by coral reefs, were sighted three to four miles northeast from the anchorage.

Modern data compared with the descriptions given in the previous two paragraphs, and a study of the sectional map and the sketch inserted in Tasman's manuscript journal, confirms that Tasman's discoveries were the following: the one larger low-lying island named “Rotterdam" was Nomuka; it is named in the sketch, "Anamocka". Of coral formation, Nomuka encloses a salt-water lagoon; it is the principal island of the Nomuka Group. The "three small low-lying islands" were Nomukeiki, Mangoiki, and Mango. Nomukeiki is named "Namocaki” in Tasman's sketch; it lies in latitude 20
O 17' south; longitude 174O 48´ west and is about one mile south-westward of Numuka; Mangoiki, is an islet three quarters of a mile west-north-westward of Mango and rises to about 21 metres. Mango is five miles southeastward of Nomuka; hills at its northwestern and southeastern ends each rise to about 42 metres. Mango is named "Amango" in Tasman's sketch. Two small islets "southeast" were Kelefesia and Tonumea: The "large high island" was Tofua, an active volcano which reaches to a height of about 505 metres; it is named "Amatafoa” in Tasman's sketch. Tofua lies in latitude 19O45´ south; longitude 175O 04´ west; it is flat-topped and wooded. The "round and much higher island" was Kao, an island two miles north north-east of Tofua; it rises to 1030 metres in a perfect cone and is named "Kaybaij” in Tasman's sketch. Kao lies in latitude 19O 40´ south; longitude 175O 01´ west. “7 more small islands" were the Kotu Group which is a subsidiary of Ha’apai Group and consists of a number of small, low islands, the principal ones being ’O’ua, Tungua, Kotu, and Ha’afeva.
 

Proceeding through the Tonga Islands, and passing west of Tofua and Kao, Tasman saw another high island northeast by east from about seven miles, in the afternoon of 2 February.

The new discovery, Late, is an island about five kilometres in diameter and 53 miles north-north-eastward of Kao. Late rises symmetrically to a volcanic peak 518 metres high, and slopes gradually to the sea; it lies in latitude 18
O 48´south; longitude 174O 39´west.

Continuing to sail on a westerly course, Tasman discovered or rediscovered Ontong Java, and islands in the Bismarck Archipelago. He passed along the whole north coast of New Guinea, and then made for Java through the Moluccas, and retuned to Batavia on 14 June 1643.

3. Fonualei, Vava’ú Group, Toku, Fonuafo’ou
 

[fn. 5. The summary and comments in this section are based on data and reviews in the following: "Francisco Antonio Maurelle" in, Andrew Sharp The Discovery of the Pacific Islands (Oxford: Clarendon, 1960, rev. ed. 1969), pp. 147-51; Donald D. Brand "Geographical Exploration by the Spanish" in, Herman R. Friis (ed.) The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Exploration (New York: American Geographical Society, 1967), Special Publication no. 38, pp. 109-44. A Spanish volume that reviews Maurelle’s voyage is Landin Carrasco, Amancio Mourelle de la Rue: explororador del Pacifico (Madrid, 1971). A Spanish navigator, Franscisco Antonio Maurelle, commanded the vessel La Princess when she sailed from the east coast of Luzon on 21 November 1780 with secret papers for the Viceroy of Mexico. Unable at first to sail across the usual northern passage, Maurelle unsuccessfully attempted a passage through the South Pacific. During his southern detour he made several discoveries in the Tonga Islands while looking for westerly winds.

Maurelle encountered several islands before he saw a small island with a barren peak, which he named “Amargura” (“Bitter”), on 26 February 1781. The next day he came close to another island with a very high peak. Inhabitants came out in canoes and told the visitors the name was “Latte.” From “Latte” other islands were seen to the east-northeast at about 12 leagues. On 27 February, Maurelle approached a large inhabited island and anchored La Princessa. A few days later he moved to a nearby port, inland from which were hills. He named this port “Puerto del Refugio” (“Port of Refuge”) and the group of islands he called “Isla de Don Martin de Mayorga” after the Viceroy of Mexico. In a report of the voyage Maurelle gives the position for the port on the west side of the group as latitude 18
O 36´south; longitude 179O 52´east from Paris. (viz 182O 12´ east or 177O 48’ west from Greenwich).

During their two-weeks stay at “Islas de Don Martin de Mayorga” the visitors were presented with large quantities of pigs, fowls, bananas, coconuts and other items of produce.

Continuing on his voyage on 20 March, Maurelle passed between Ha’apai and Vava’u Groups. On 19 April, he saw “Latte” again and then on 21 April he had two islands to the north-north-east and east-north-east respectively which he named “Consolación” (“Consolation”) because islanders brought out supplies to him. On 24 April, he passed another island and named it “Maurelle.”

Information in Maurelle’s report compared with modern data confirms that the two islands Maurelle named "Consolación” were Fonualei and Toku; the island named "Maurelle" refers to Niuafo’ou, which had been, discovered by Le Maire in 1616. (see section 1). His “Amargura” was the volcanic island of Fonualei. The name “Latte” identifies Late which had been discovered by Tasman in 1642 (see section 2), The group of islands he named “Isla de Don Martin de Mayorga” refers to the Vava’u Group which is made up from more than fifty islands and islets. Maurelle's latitude for Vava'u is correct but his longitude is about 3
O too far east. His name “Port of Refuge” is marked in modern maps and refers to the land-locked harbour of Neiafu on the island of Vava’u. The harbour is located in latitude 18O south; longitude 174O 01´ west. It is possible that the French navigator A. B. M. le Jar du Clesmeur discovered this group in 1772 but in the absence of firm evidence the honour of European discovery belongs to Maurelle. [fn.6. A.B.M le Jar du Clesmeur assumed leadership of Marion du Fresne's expedition following the death of Marion in New Zealand, on 12 June 1772. In command of two vessels the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries du Clesmeur sailed north-northeast from New Zealand as far as the twentieth parallel. At daybreak on 6 August 1772 the French explorers saw seven islands and during the next week or more further islands were sighted. The two ships were undoubtedly in the centre of the Tonga Islands but in the absence of precise details it is not possible to credit du Clesmeur with any discoveries. For details of the problem see John Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965-1969), pp. 190-92.] Maurelle also discovered the bank that developed into Fonuafo'ou although it is possible du Clesmeur sighted the bank in 1772. [fn.7. See note 6.] This volcanic island, about 13 miles northward of Hunga Tonga, has undergone many changes since Maurelle's sighting in 1781. According to an entry in the Pacific Islands Pilot, Maurelle named a bank "Culebras Bank" in a position he reported as latitude 20O 22’ south; longitude 175o 18’ west. Since this is close to the position of Fonuafo’ou in 20O 19o S; 175O 25’ W, and no other bank or island is in the vicinity, Maurelle's discovery was certainly Fonuafo’ou.

4. H­a’ano, Nukunamo, Foa, Uoleva, Lifuka, ’Uiha 

[fn. 8. The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, J.C. Beaglehole (ed.) The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery (3) The Voyage of the 'Resolution' and 'Discovery' 1776-1780 (London:  The Hakluyt Society, 1967, Part I, Extra series, no. 36. As well, I consulted R. A. Skelton, The Journals of Captain James Cook on His voyages of discovery – Charts and views drawn by Cook and his officers and reproduced from the original manuscripts (Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society, 1969).]

During his second Pacific voyage 1772-75, James Cook visited Tasman's discoveries of ‘Eua and Tongatapu. He was received with such friendliness he called the Tonga Group the Friendly Islands. During his third and final voyage to the Pacific in the years 1776-79, Cook commanded an expedition consisting of two vessels HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery. His expedition entered the Pacific from the west, called at New Zealand, then set sail for the Society Islands. Cook came to islands in the present-day Cook Islands then sailed west from Palmerston Atoll to the Tonga Islands.

Cook approached the Tonga Islands on 28 April 1777 and anchored at Nomuka on 2 May, sailing again on 14 May. He then headed north and passed close to a number of islands on 16 May before anchoring near the northwestern tip of an island he named in his journal "Lefooga", on 17 May. The ships remained until 26 May when Cook weighed anchors and sailed south again to anchor off Uoleva for a few days before sailing west. The expedition returned to Nomuka again from 5 to 7 June, then sailed for Tongatapu and ‘Eua before resuming Pacific exploration by sailing for Tahiti on 17 July. Cook was killed at Karakakoa Bay, Hawaii, in January 1779.

Entries in Cook's journal and in particular sketches of islands in Thomas Edgar's manuscript chart of the area provide evidence confirming Cook's discovery of the following islands in the eastern section: Ha’apai Group: Ha’ano, Nukunamo, Foa, Lifuka Group, Uoleva, Tatafa, 'Uiha. Declusemeur saw possibly some or all of these islands in 1772 but in the absence of solid evidence, it is appropriate to credit Cook with the discovery.
 

During his third and final voyage to the Pacific in the years 1776-79, Cook commanded an expedition consisting of two vessels HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery. His expedition entered the Pacific from the west, called at New Zealand, then set sail for the Society Islands. Cook came to islands in the present-day Cook Islands then sailed west from  Palmerston Atoll to the Tonga Islands.               

 

Cook approached the Tonga Islands on 28 April 1777 and anchored at Nomuka on 2 May, sailing again on 14 May. He then headed north and passed close to a number of islands on 16 May before anchoring near the northwestern tip of an island he named in his journal "Lefooga", on 17 May. The ships remained until 26 May when Cook weighed anchors and sailed south again to anchor off Uoleva for a few days before sailing west. The expedition returned to Nomuka again from 5 to 7 June, then sailed for Tongatapu and ‘Eua before resuming Pacific exploration by sailing for Tahiti on 17 July. Cook was killed at Karakakoa Bay, Hawaii, in January 1779. 

 

Entries in Cook's journal and in particular sketches of islands in Thomas Edgar's manuscript chart of the area  provide evidence confirming Cook's discovery of the following islands in the eastern section:  Ha’apai Group: Hā’ano, Nukunamo,  Foa, Lifuka Group, Uoleva, Tatafa, 'Uiha.  Declusemeur saw possibly some or all of these islands in 1772 but in the absence of solid evidence, it is appropriate to credit Cook with the discovery. [fn. 9. See note 6.]     

 

Summary  

 

la Tafahi   

10 May 1616       

Jacob Le Maire       

lb Niuatoputapu

10 May 1616    

Jacob Le Maire       

1c  Niuafo'o    

14 May 1616    

Jacob Le Maire         

2a ‘Ata         

19 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2b Tongatapu   

20 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman        

2c ‘Eua         

20 January 1643.

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2d Hunga Ha’apai

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2e Hunga Tonga   

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2f Kelefesia     

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2g Tonumea       

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2h Nomuka Group  

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2i Kotu Group   

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman          

2j Tofua            

24 January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman         

2k Kao             

24  January 1643

Abel Janszoon Tasman          

3a Fonualei        

26 February 1781

Francisco A. Maurelle          

3b Vava’u Group    

27 February 1781

Francisco A. Maurelle          

3c Toku            

21 April 1781   

Francisco A.  Maurelle          

3d Fonuafo’ou     

1781

Francisco A.  Maurelle          

  4a Hā’ano          

16 May 1777

James Cook       

4b Nukunamo

16 May 1777

James Cook          

4c  Foa            

16 May 1777

James  Cook

4d  Uoleva

16 May 1777

James  Cook          

4e Tatafa

16 May 1777

James Cook

4f  Lifuka         

16 May 1777

James  Cook

4g  ‘Uiha       

16 or 17 May 1777

James Cook                                 

References and footnotes - copied from above

1. Orthography and place-names follow official Kingdom of Tonga usage.

2. Descriptions and positions of the islands are based on data published in, Sailing Directions (Enroute) - For the Pacific Islands, 1992, 4th ed. (Bethesda, Maryland: Defence Mapping Agency Hydrographic/Topographic Centre) Pub. 126, and, Pacific Islands Pilot, 3 vols, Taunton: Hydrographer of the Navy, (10th ed.), 1984.

3. The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, W.A. Engelbrecht en P.J. van Herwerden, De Ontdekkingsreis van Jacob Le Maire en Willem Cornelisz. Schouten in de Jaren 1615-1617, 2 vols,’s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1945 (Werken uitgegeven door de Linschoten-Vereeniging, vol. 49). I also consulted J. A. de Villiers, ed., and transl., The East and, West Indian Mirror, being an account of Joris van Spilbergen's voyage round the World (1614-1617), and the Australian Navigations of Jacob Le Maire, (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1906), ser. 2, No. 18.

4. The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, Andrew Sharp, The Voyages of Abel Janszoon Tasman (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968). I also consulted, R.P. Meyjes De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher Ter Nadere Ontdekking van Het Zuidland in 1642/3 en 1644, ’s Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1919 (Werken uitgegeven door de Linschoten-Vereeniging, vol. 17).

5. The summary and comments in this section are based on data and reviews in the following: "Francisco Antonio Maurelle" in, Andrew Sharp The Discovery of the Pacific Islands (Oxford: Clarendon, 1960, rev. ed. 1969), pp. 147-51; Donald D. Brand "Geographical Exploration by the Spanish" in, Herman R. Friis (ed.) The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Exploration (New York: American Geographical Society, 1967), Special Publication no. 38, pp. 109-44. A Spanish volume that reviews Maurelle’s voyage is Landin Carrasco, Amancio Mourelle de la Rue: explororador del Pacifico (Madrid, 1971).

6. A.B.M le Jar du Clesmeur assumed leadership of Marion du Fresne's expedition following the death of Marion in New Zealand, on 12 June 1772. In command of two vessels the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries du Clesmeur sailed north-northeast from New Zealand as far as the twentieth parallel. At daybreak on 6 August 1772 the French explorers saw seven islands and during the next week or more further islands were sighted. The two ships were undoubtedly in the centre of the Tonga Islands but in the absence of precise details it is not possible to credit du Clesmeur with any discoveries. For details of the problem see John Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965-1969), pp. 190-92.

7. See note 6.

8 The summary and comments in this section are based on the accounts in, J.C. Beaglehole (ed.) The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery (3) The Voyage of the 'Resolution' and 'Discovery' 1776-1780 (London:  The Hakluyt Society, 1967, Part I, Extra series, no. 36. As well, I consulted R. A. Skelton, The Journals of Captain James Cook on His voyages of discovery – Charts and views drawn by Cook and his officers and reproduced from the original manuscripts (Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society, 1969).

9.See note 6.

Acknowledgement
The author is indebted to Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau, the University of Auckland, for her valued comments and also for her assistance with place-names.

 


 

Addenda

The following news item has been circulating in the news media and an article appeared in The New Zealand Herald on 10 November 2006.- New Volcanic Island Reported in South Pacific Near Tonga — A new volcanic island has risen from the South Pacific near Tonga, according to reports from two vessels that passed the area. The crew of the Maiken, a yacht that left the northern Tongan islands group of Vava'u in August, reported on their Web log on Aug. 12 that they saw streaks of light, porous pumice stone floating in the water — then "sailed into a vast, many-miles-wide belt of densely packed pumice."


They posted photos of huge pumice rafts that they encountered after passing Tonga's Late island while sailing toward Fiji."We were so fascinated and busy taking pictures that we ploughed a couple of hundred meters into this surreal floating stone field before we realized that we had to turn back," wrote a crewman identified only as Haken. The next day they spotted an active volcanic island, Haken wrote. He said they could see the volcanic island clearly.


"One mile in diameter and with four peaks and a central crater smoking with steam and once in a while an outburst high in the sky with lava and ashes. I think we're the first ones out here," he reported. There was no official confirmation of a new island, either from Tonga's Ministry of Lands or the Tonga Defense Service. Separately, fishing boat captain Siaosi Fenukitau reported seeing the volcanic island, the Matangitonga news Web site reported. Richard Wunderman, editor of the Washington-based Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, said "a large pumice raft presumably from Tonga has been sweeping across Fiji, and we are trying to learn about its origins." A previous eruption in the area generated a small island and similar fields of floating pumice, he said. Pumice rafts drifted to Fiji in 1979 and 1984 from eruptions around Tonga, and some were reportedly 30 kilometers (19 miles) wide, the Matangitonga reported. Eruption near Vava'u on August 12-13. Frederik Fransson 'Maiken'.Eruption near Vava'u on August 12-13. Frederik Fransson 'Maiken'.
- The main story appears to have come through AP.