The Society Islands


This is a view of the Society Islands by Captain James Cook, who completed his first exploration of the Pacific Ocean from 1769 to 1771. The chart is a copy of an original document by Tupaia, a priest and leader of the island of Ra’iatea. He was enlisted by Cook to navigate HMS Endeavour to New Zealand. Tupaia’s knowledge of the topography, coastline and environmental features of South Pacific islands were indispensable to the British. Polynesian navigators before him had been exploring the Pacific for hundreds of years, charting routes to islands, including New Zealand, from their homelands around Tahiti.

Full title:
Copy Chart of the Society Islands
Pen and Ink / Map
James Cook, Tupaia
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Add. MS 21593 C

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