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ISBN
Author
PublisherDodo Press
Release date 08.03.2007
Pages count464
File size6.7 Mb
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
Book rating3.75 (4 votes)
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Book overview

This book was originally published in 1888 which is something I found when I was already half way through it (I didn't associate the title with the publication date) and after a bit of googleing, some information actually seems to be inaccurate. Probably not too much though since it's mostly based on original manuscripts from the expeditioners* but still the writing style is quite heavy so keep that in mind!

It starts with the Spanish quest for "La Australia del Espíritu Santo" (spanish for: the southern land of the Holy Spirit) with Pedro Fernandes de Queirós (born in Portugal but became Spanish when the countries temporarily united in 1580) sailing from Callao, Peru in their supremacy days. This was during the days when Europe was dazzled with the sight of riches brought from America circa 16th century (then dropping their interest when didn't find as much). At the same time the book also makes clear that the original exploration, and according to previous maps, "would point to a Portugese discovery [...] immediately preceding the Dutch one" emphasising on how being able to determine this had been significantly difficult.

"The jealousy with which the maritime nations of Europe guarded their discoveries from each other has been the means of putting great difficulties in the way of tracing out the early traditions of the great South Land. The domineering Spaniard looked upon the Portugese navigator as a formidable rival in the race for trade; and the sturdy Hollander they regarded as a natural enemy and a rebel. The generous emulation of fellow-workers in the cause of scientific discovery was unknown, and the secrets of the sea were scrupulously kept.

On behalf of Dutch reticence, it may be said that the cause of the merited hatred they bore to Spain was still too fresh in their memory to allow them to divulge anything that might possibly benefit a Spaniard."

And while some where trying to hide their excursions, others were trying to claim them.

"A shadowy claim to the honour of being the first discoverer of Terra Australis has been advanced on behalf of the Frenchman Gonneville, who sailed from Honfleur in 1503, on a voyage to the East Indies. He is said to have doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and being driven by stress of weather into an unknown sea, found a land inhabited by friendly people, with whom he stayed some time, being accompanied back to France by one of the king's sons who was desirous of studying the precepts of Christianity. The general belief, however, is that it was probably Madagascar whereon De Gonneville landed."

But according to wikipedia,what Binot Paulmier de Gonneville had found was actually Brazil. Again the book is old!

Here's a pretty epic map with some of the excursions:



The book then goes in detail about the English expeditions mostly focusing on the not so famous ones (which I found interesting — the famous Lieutenant James Cook is barely mentioned) describing their struggles with things such as finding water, unpleasant natives, deceases, mental breakdowns, weather, drama, etc..

But to be honest I pretty much skimmed through the second half of the book and looks like it's pretty much the same, quite a plain and dull reading, mostly when compared to the one in America. There wasn't nearly as much conflict with the aborigines and the land didn't seem to be as rich, hence seems like they mostly focused on finding places where they could build communities and settle.

* I found interesting that apparently these manuscripts were transcribed by the current king's transcribers who used to complain about the handwriting sometimes being completely illegible making entire expeditions practicably useless. I mean, imagine the king! He must be like; WTF!


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