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A Voyage Round The World In The Years 1766, 1767, 1768 and 1769

Date: 1772
Overall: 45 x 274 x 219 mm, 1.5 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00006441
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A book by Louis-Antoine de Bougainville titled "A voyage round the world performed by order of his most Christian Majesty in the years 1766, 1767, 1768 & 1769". The book was translated from French to English by John Reinhold Forster and published in 1772.
    This particular first edition came from the library of Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), the celebrated engineer and manufacturer and associate of Sir Joseph Banks and Alexander Dalrymple.

    SignificanceThe French navigator Louis Bougainville sailed round the world between 1766 and 1769 and was a contemporary of James Cook in exploring the Pacific. He came close to seeing the East coast of Australia before Cook but was turned away by the reefs of the Coral Sea.
    HistoryLouis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729 - 1811) had a started a promising career in mathematics before joining the French army in 1754 and fighting in Canada against the British forces. Yet in 1763, having returned to France, Bougainville joined the navy.
    It what appears to be under his own proposal and funding, Bougainville was sent to the Falklands to establish a French colony there at Port Louis. He had held a long standing interest in exploration and certainly his time spent aboard had heightened this.To the Falklands he took two ships, three expelled Arcadian families from Canada and instructions and best wishes from King Louis XV with him. The colony was established as a small but generally robust fortress and Bougainville returned to France. Despite the success and passion Bougainville had poured into the established at Port Louis, it had been negotiated by the powers in Paris to hand the settlement over to Spain. Bouganville would be financillay compensated and part of the negotioans and hand-over, but the Falklands were no longer French.
    It was at this time, 1766, that Louis XV agreed to fund a circumnavigation by Bougainville of the globe. He would be the first French man to do so and it was hoped new territories would be discovered, particuarly in the Pacific.
    Tensions and competition with England was fierce. Pressure from the loss of the Seven Year Wars in North America and incresing interest in exploring and establishing overseas colonies saw exploration gain in popularity - 'Englightenemnt Expeditions" as they became refered to - fed into the Age of Englightenement where man, natuure and the unknown were discussed in salons, acedemies and books by writers such as Rousseau.
    Bougainville's instructions were first to handover the Falklands (Malvinas), which to Spain, France's ally, and then to proceed towards China via the Straits of Magellan and the South Sea, investigating the islands or continent lying between the Indies and the western seaboard of America. Having claimed possession of Tahiti, unaware of Wallis's visit less than a year before, he finally reached the New Hebrides archipelago and "La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo", discovered by Quiros in 1606 and believed to be part of the supposed Southern Continent.
    The only way to determine this, Bougainville resolved, was to head westward a further 350 leagues in the hope of sighting the eastern coast of New Holland."This he did, only to be impeded by the Great Barrier Reef and, although several of his crew claimed to have sighted land, this was not confirmed and the ships were headed to the north. Nevertheless, Bougainville concluded that he was close to some extensive land and, in running westwards from Espiritu Santo, he had dared to face the risk of the legendary lee-shore of New Holland and New Guinea, even though prudence, shortage of food and the condition of his vessels would have justified his heading northwards at an earlier
    date. " (ColinJack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon, Oxford, 1969, p.256)
    Perhaps if Bougainville had of perservered, "he would have come to the Australian coast near Cooktown, and would, likely enough, have been wrecked where Cook was wrecked two years later".

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Voyage autour du monde, par la fregate du roi la boudeuse et la flute L'Etoile

    Primary title: A Voyage Round The World In The Years 1766, 1767, 1768 and 1769

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