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Chart of the Gambier's Islands discovered by Capt: James Wilson in the Ship DUFF. London. Published as the Act directs by T. Chapman 151 Fleet Street Feby. 1st 1799. 

Gambier or Mangareva Islands (French: Îles Gambier or Archipel des Gambier) are a populated (1641 people), small (30 km2 or 12 sq mi) group of islands, remnants of a caldera along with islets on the surrounding fringing reef, in French Polynesia, located at the southeast terminus of the Tuamotu archipelago. They are generally considered a separate island group from Tuamotu both because their culture and language (Mangarevan) are much more closely related to those of the Marquesas Islands, and because, while the Tuamotus comprise several chains of coral atolls, the Gambiers are of volcanic origin with central high islands. Because of their proximity, the Acteon Group, and the nearby atolls of Maria Est, Morane, Marutea Sud and Temoe (23°20′46″S 134°28′28″W), all permanently uninhabited, are sometimes included among the Gambiers.

In 1795 the just formed London Missionary Society decided to send missionaries to the South Pacific. Captain James Wilson volunteered his services and the society was able to afford to purchase the ship DUFF. Lloyd's Registerfor 1796 shows that James Wilson became master of the DUFF and Cox & Co. replaced J. Carbine as owner. 

The London Missionary Society instructed Wilson to deliver a group of missionaries and their families (consisting of thirty men, six women, and three children) to their postings in Tahiti, Tonga, and the Marquesas Islands. Captain Wilson and the DUFF left The Downs on 13 August 1796 and by 12 November she was at Rio de Janeiro. On 6 March 1797 she reached Matavai (Mahina), where 14 missionaries and their families disembarked. DUFF next delivered nine volunteers to Tongatapu on 26 March. One left immediately, and over time the locals killed three.

While sailing from Tongatapu to the Marquesas, Wilson became the first European to visit Pukarua, which he found uninhabited and named Searle Island. On 24 May Wilson he sighted Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, which he named for James Gambier, then a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty. The largest land feature on Mangareva is named Mount Duff. At Mangareva Duff stopped at Rikitea. Wilson was the first European to visit Temoe in the Gambiers, which he named "Crescent Island".

By 5 June DUFF at Resolution Bay, in the Marquesas. Here DUFF landed William Pascoe Crook. On 6 July DUFF was at Matavai again and was at Tahiti by 18 July. On 18 August she was back at Tonga. From there Wilson and DUFF sailed for China, arriving on 13 December at Whampoa. On this voyage Wilson charted the location of a number of islands. In the Caroline Islands he visited Satawal, Elato, and Lamotrek. In the Fiji Islands Wilson also charted Vanua Balavu, Fulaga, and Ogea Levu.

DUFF left China 5 Jan 1798 and reached Malacca on 16 January, the Cape of Good Hope on 17 March, and St Helena on 15 April. She was at Cork on 24 June, and arrived at Long Reach, England on 10 July 1798.

The first chart of the Gambier Islands.

Copperplate engraving.

Size to ruled borders. 220 x 285 mm. ( 8 5/8 x 11 1/4 inches).

Good condition. Sized with the original fold.


... GAMBIER'S ISLANDS ...1799 [Tuamotu/Marquesas Islands].

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