Samuel Wallis

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Samuel Wallis

Samuel Wallis (born April 23, 1728 in Camelford , Cornwall , † January 21, 1795 in London ) was a British naval officer and circumnavigator. He is considered the discoverer of Tahiti and several other islands in the South Pacific .


Born the son of a lower landed gentry with a few hectares of land near Camelford in Cornwall, Samuel Wallis was in 1744 as a midshipman on the Navy . He served in the Anglo-French War 1744–1749 and was promoted to lieutenant shortly after the Peace of Aachen (1748) .

After the renewed outbreak of war between England and France in 1756 ( Seven Years War ), Wallis was transferred to the ship of the line Invincible . In June of the same year he received his first independent command as the commander of a sloop . From April 1757 he was the captain of a frigate with 20 guns in North American waters. After 18 months of service, Wallis was given command of the 60-gun warship Prince of Orange . After the Peace of Paris in 1763, like many other naval officers, he was placed on half pay.

After three years, about which little is known in his biography , Wallis was called back into active service in 1766 and was given command of the Dolphin . He was commissioned to sail into the Strait of Magellan with the Swallow under the command of Philip Carteret , who later discovered the island of Pitcairn , and then to circumnavigate the world.

In February 1766 the ships put to sea. Tobias Furneaux , who would later accompany James Cook on his travels to the South Pacific, served as the second lieutenant under Valais . During the Atlantic crossing , the ships stayed together, but when they left the Strait of Magellan, Wallis and Carteret lost sight of each other. The Dolphin continued to sail northwest into the South Pacific. Wallis discovered Tahiti for Europe on June 18, 1767 and baptized the island in honor of the British King King George Island . Samuel Wallis is also considered the discoverer of the island of Pinaki , the islands of Nukutavake , Vairaatea , Paraoa , Manuhangi and Nengonengo in the Tuamotu archipelago and of Meetia , the easternmost island of the Society Islands . On the way back via Batavia , Wallis discovered the islands of Howe , Tapuaemanu , Mopihaa and Fenua Ura . After a stopover in Batavia, during which part of his crew died of infectious diseases , he sailed back to England via the Cape of Good Hope and had circled the world once.

When he was denied command of the Endeavor in favor of James Cook, he withdrew into private life. In 1780 he was called back to active service. As a sinecure , two years later he was assigned the post of "extra naval commissioner". Wallis died in London on January 21, 1795.



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