In the wake of the Lapérouse expedition at Tutuila (Samoa) – Bernard Jimenez
(left: Monument to Laperouse expedition members massacred. Link to lecture on restoration of monument – Johnson & Slavid – “Case study of the restoration of the Monument at Massacre Bay, A’asu, Tutila, American Samoa).
Bernard and Françoise Jimenez have recently set out for Hawai’i and Samoa in the wake of Lapérouse. This first report retraces their discovery of the places where the expedition made landfall on the island of Tutuila (Samoa) and the drama which took place there.
The island of Tutuila, that Lapérouse named Maouna, is today part of American Samoa. It is here, in the bays of Fagas and then A’asu, that first contacts ashore took place – at first very friendly then dramatic – between Europeans and inhabitants of the Navigator Islands, discovered by the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen in 1722 and so named by Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in May 1768.
Fagasa Bay (Anse de l’aiguade)
Although there is a large, well-protected bay to the south side, that of Pago Pago, Lapérouse made landfall on the north side of the island on 9 December 1787, moreover making a scathing attack on Bougainville for the lack of precision of his charts. Lapérouse wrote in his log: “It would have been desirable that these particular maps were drawn up with greater care and on a larger scale”. The two frigates anchored first in sight of Fagasa Bay and many exchanges took place with the islanders: “more than 500 pigs, chickens, pigeons, immense quantities of fruit […] and two dogs which were found to be very good”(2). Then cutters and Continue reading
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