Back to listing

Discovery of Tahiti 250 years ago

Year 2019 - Tahiti

Bougainville arrival in Tahiti

THE YEAR 2017:

It marks the 250th anniversary of the discovery of Tahiti Island and some islands in the Tuamotu Archipelago by navigator Samuel Wallis in 1767. He was the first European to set foot on Tahiti Island, more precisely in Matavai Bay which is located in the commune of Mahina formerly part of TEU territory being the father of Pomare I. He will be the first great king of Tahiti to rule all the chiefdoms of the island.
This first contact between Europeans and Tahitians was turbulent.  For the first 2 days of their arrival in the bay, Captain Wallis' ship "Dolphin" was surrounded by nearly 500 canoes with about 4,000 people on board. Then followed the exchanges, half-naked women were sent by the Tahitians on the ship to create_a diversion so that they could better attack with stones, Wallis and his crew responded with cannon fire.
Following these turbulent exchanges, Wallis and his crew decided to set foot on land to refuel. From there the hostilities ended and Wallis' stay lasted 1 month.

THE YEAR 2018 :

Itmarks the 250th anniversary of Louis-Antoine Bougainville's arrival in Tahiti in 1768 and the discovery of some islands in the Tuamotu archipelago such as Vahitahi and Akiaki where he will not stop over.
For the record, Bougainville was the first navigator to take a Tahitian back to France.
Originally from Raiatea, Ahutoru was about 30 years old when he made this crossing aboard the "Boudeuse". As soon as he set foot in France in the spring of 1769, he was the object of curiosity, often considered as a "good savage". Some philosophers of the "lights", including Diderot, made Ahutoru a hero of their polemics against colonization.
In 1771 he was struck by smallpox on Mauritius, which was fatal to him, so he was never able to join his family. We will remember here that he was the first Tahitian to come to Europe
It is thanks to Ahutoru and Bougainville that the famous myth of Tahiti, considered at the time as the "New Kythera", began.

THE YEAR 2019 :

Itmarks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of navigator James Cook, a decisive turning point in the history of explorers. He was the second to take on board a Tahitian named Tupaia in 1769. He was able to board the ship thanks to Joseph Banks who was the expedition's sponsor.
Tupaia was originally from Raiatea, he had extraordinary knowledge. He also knew how to navigate without instruments, using only the sky and currents. He had also been a prince consort and a great warlord.
He was a valuable help to Cook in order to be able to map the Polynesian islands in detail. Tupaia, even though he had never travelled so far from home, knew the location of more than a hundred islands. Only the merits of these discoveries were attributed to Cook. However, Tupaia died, as did Ahutoru, before he could return home.

Wallis and the tahitians
Portrait of Ahutoru
By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.