French Voyages of Discovery

Although this blog has so far concentrated on things American or British, it is time to let the French speak. The following are works recounting French voyages of exploration; they are arranged in chronological order:

Amédée-François Frézier. A voyage to the South-sea, and along the coasts of Chili and Peru, in the years 1712, 1713, 1714 (1717 with a postscript by Edmund Halley in which he defends himself against the author’s assertion that his charts are woefully inaccurate). This voyage was essentially one of spying on the Spanish fortifications in the above areas and rendering accurate maps.

Antoine-Joseph Pernety. A history of a voyage to the Malouine (or Falkland) Islands, made in 1763 and 1764…. (a 1771 abridged translation of the 1769 two-volume French edition). The first comprehensive survey of the flora and fauna of the Falklands; the islands were claimed for France.

Alexis Rochon. A voyage to Madagascar and the East Indies. By the abbe Rochon … To which is added. [M. Brunel’s] memoir on the Chinese trade (1792). Investigates this island, discusses the sugar and cocoa industries there and details some of the history.

Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de la Perouse. A Voyage round the World, Performed in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, by the Boussole and Astrolabe(1798). This was a two-ship expedition sent out to explore the South Seas; both were lost after leaving Botany Bay. This work is based on his reports and observations that went home on another ship.

 Jacques-Julien Houtou de la Billardiere. A search mission was dispatched to search for La Perouse –  Voyage in search of La Ṕerouse, performed by order of the Constituent Assembly, during the years 1791, 1792, 1793, and 1794 (2 vols, 1800). They could not find them.

Jacques Amago. Narrative of a Voyage Round the World, in the Uranie and Physicienne Corvettes, Commanded by Captain Freycinet, During the Years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820 (1823). Written in a series of letters by one of the participants. This was a scientific expedition that had among its other goals experiments with magnetism






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