Tupaia : Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator

4.31 (106 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book offers a biography of the unacknowledged Tahitian navigator who was essential to the success and eventual fame of Captain Cook's historic voyage on the Endeavour.

Tupaia was the brilliant Polynesian navigator and translator who sailed with Captain James Cook from Tahiti, piloted the Endeavour across the South Pacific, and interceded on behalf of the European voyagers with the warrior Maori of New Zealand. As a man of high social ranking, Tupaia was also invaluable as an intermediary, interpreting local rituals and ceremonies. Joseph Banks, the botanist with Cook's expedition, is famous for describing the manners and customs of the Polynesian people in detail. Much of the credit for this information rightfully belongs to Tupaia-indeed, he could aptly be called the Pacific's first anthropologist.

Despite all this, Tupaia's colorful tale has never been part of the popular Captain Cook legend. This unique book tells the first-contact story with Europeans as seen through the eyes of the Polynesians, and documents how Tupaia's contributions changed the history of the Pacific.

* A detailed, four-year chronology from 1767-1770

* Six pieces of iconic artwork created by Tupaia himself are included, providing a rare glimpse into a long-gone people

* An image of Tupaia's chart, drawn to demonstrate his vast knowledge of the Pacific to Captain Cook
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Product details

  • Hardback | 255 pages
  • 168.91 x 242.82 x 25.4mm | 571.53g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • 11 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0313387486
  • 9780313387487
  • 406,075

Review quote

"Joan Druett has written an interesting and very readable book. . . . Pacific historians will be familiar with most of the events described in the book, but will appreciate this fine focus on and tribute to Tupaia " - International Journal of Maritime History "Druett's narrative beautifully captures the essence of Tupaia's world and brings it alive for readers. Her excellent study of an extraordinary-and nearly forgotten-Tahitian should be enjoyed by readers interested in British maritime history and Polynesian history and culture." - Library Journal "The only biography of Tupaia, Druett's astute portrait vitally contributes to annals of exploration and cultural contact." - Booklist
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About Joan A. Druett

Joan Druett is a professional writer.
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Rating details

106 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 49% (52)
4 37% (39)
3 10% (11)
2 4% (4)
1 0% (0)
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