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A Spanish Mission in Tahiti: Coastal Views and Eighteenth-century Cultural Syncretism.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2007
JournalThe Globe
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish


Among the eighteenth-century voyages of South Pacific exploration, three little-known journeys sponsored by the Spanish crown between 1772 and 1775 to establish a Franciscan Mission on Tahiti constitute a rarity. The views of Tahiti and the Society Islands generated during these voyages embody a wish to conciliate the exotic islands discovered with European ways of seeing and depicting the land. A quasi-dialectical engagement between the visitors and the local environment can be appreciated in these bird's-eye views, which were mostly drafted by the pilot of the voyage, Juan de Herve. These cultural products exemplify the type of contact that became the hallmark of Pacific settlement throughout the ensuing decades.