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THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
 

Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
    Captain Cook's First Voyage 1768-1771
 

Banks was especially enamored by the women of Tahiti. The transit of Venus found Banks in the company of

"three handsome young women… he showed them the planet on the sun, and endeavored to make them understand that he and his companions had come from their own country purposely to see it. Soon after, Mr. Banks returned with them [to their island nearby], where he spent the rest of the day examining its produce."

The close encounter of a minor planet named Eros with the sun in 1931 finally allowed the calculation of the precise value of the astronomical unit, which proved to be 93 million miles.

 

 

Joseph Banks, the naturalist of Cook’s expedition, noted in his journal that upon first coming ashore on Tahiti, the islanders led the visitors into the forest,

"through groves of trees, which were loaded with cocoa-nuts and breadfruit, and afforded the most grateful shade. Under these trees were the habitations of the people… and the whole scene realized the poetical fables of Arcadia."

 

 


View of the Island of Huaheine
near Tahiti (detail)

from An Account of the Voyages
... in the Southern Hemisphere ... by Captain Cook.
Edited by John Hawkesworth.
London: Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773.

Cook: Page 3 of 16. The first voyage.
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