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Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
The Voyage of Louis de Freycinet 1817-1820

Danaïde Eunice (Mauritius)


Plectropome Ponctué (Guam)


Freycinetís mission was to make observations that would allow a more precise determination of the form of the earth. Scientists had been seeking for some time to learn to what degree the earth is spherical. The magnetism of the earth was measured at different locations to help solve this question. Freycinet calculated the degree of flattening for each hemisphere and at the equator, and concluded that the flattening of the Southern Hemisphere does not differ appreciably from that of the Northern Hemisphere.



Girelle Gaimard (Maui)


The above three images are from
Voyage Autour du Monde … sur les Corvettes de S.M. l’Uranie et la Physicienne.
Paris: Pillet Aîné, 1825.



These specimens represent the three sites that were most important to the expeditionís mission in recording the magnetism of the earth: Mauritius, which lies east of Africa; Guam (between the Philippines and the Marshall Islands); and Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. The study of natural history and the collection of specimens were important but secondary goals.


Freycinet. Page 1 of 2.
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