1791. Madrid. Don Benito Cano. 8vo (200 x 140 mm). 1 [blank], 4 ff., 318, full-page engraving and large folding map. Contemporary limp vellum, spine lettered in ink, very good condition. Internally an excellent copy, completely genuine condition overall.
First edition, an important work on the Island of Chiloe (Chile), and the Spanish exploration in the Pacific in the later half of the 18th century by Boenechea and Andia: Noticias practicas, e individuales de las islas nombradas vulgarmente de Otahiti ó Carolinas situadas en el mar del sud, ó Pacifico, a description of Domingo de Boenechea´s exploration of Tahiti and various Polynesian islands, prompted by the English exploration and recent English voyages in the Pacific, drafted following the return of the Second Spanish Voyage to Tahiti in 1775 (following another in 1772 also by Boenechea), amongst the earliest explorations of the Islands ever performed.
Don Domingo de Boenechea y Andonaegui (1713-75), a veteran Basque captain, was chosen, in 1772, by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat, to lead an expedition to Tahiti and Polynesia. Aboard the frigate Santa Maria Magdalena, better known as the Aguila, Boenechea sailed from Callao, on September 26, 1772, and after an easy passage arrived at the Tuamotu Archipelago, discovering an island on October 28 which he named San Simon y Judas (Tauere), and another which he named San Quintin (Haraiki) on October 31. The following day, he encountered Anaa, which he named Todos Santos; and on November 6 he sighted Meetia, which received the name of San Cristobal. On November 8 he arrived at Tahiti, which he named Amat. Amat was encouraged by Boenechea’s accounts and decided to authorize a second expedition, with the objective of landing priests on Tahiti, so as to convert the natives to Christianity and to gain their loyalty to the Spanish Crown.
Boenechea’s second expedition embarked on the Aguila from Callao on September 20, 1774. On October 29 they sighted an island which was named San Narciso (Tatakoto), and two days later, the island of San Simon (Tauere). On November 1, two islands were sighted which were named Los Martires (Tekokoto) –at the same time as Andia, however they did not meet- and San Juan (Hikueru). The island of San Quintin (Haraiki) was seen, and at Todos Santos (Anaa) they traded with the natives for coconuts and artifacts. On November 13 they sighted San Cristobal (Meetia), and the next day they reached their key destination, Amat (Tahiti). After some exploration of the coast, they anchored on November 27 in a harbor that they named Santa Cruz de Ohatutira (Tautira Bay). They met with the local chief, Vehiatua, and land was selected for the homestead built for the priests.
After settling the friars, Boenechea sailed northwest for Orayatea (Raiatea). He passed Tetiaroa, which he renamed Los Tres Ermanos; sighted Huahine, which he named La Hermosa; and saw Raiatea, which he named La Princessa. Maurua was renamed San Antonio, and Borabora received the new name of San Pedro. The ships returned to Tahiti, where Boenechea died on January 26, 1775. Gayangos thereafter discovered the island of Raivavae in the Austral group that he named Santa Rosa, before returning to Callao on April 8, 1775.
Importantly, Boenechea’s description of the islands is one of the earliest detailed accounts of Tahiti and the Society Islands in existence and a fundamental source of information on the appearance of the islands before European settlements and influence.
Much of this work by the head of the Franciscan missionary college of Santa Rosa at Ocapa, Peru, is a history of the Chilean province of Chiloe. The map Mapa de la Provincia y Archipielago de Chiloe en el Reyno de Chile Obispado de la Concepcion, is first large-scale map of Chiloe. The Chiloe Archipelago is a large group of islands, which features the large island of Chiloe, located off the coast of Chile in the Pacific. The map is very detailed, we can only assume it was compiled from the most updated available geographical information; it is dramatically engraved and features a compass rose and a title cartouche. The engraving represents a tree shaped like Christ on the Cross.
Palau 104963. Sabin 27822. Cooper (Bib. of Tribes of Tierra del Fuego) 93.