Domingo de Bonechea
Domingo de Bonechea Andonaegui (Basque: Domingo Bonetxea Andonaegi), born on August 8, 1713 in Getaria, Basque Country, Spain, died in Tahiti in 1775, was an explorer for the Spanish crown. He is known for having tried to incorporate Tahiti to the Spanish seaborne empire.
He was the son of Juan Bauptista de Bonechea and Francisca Andonaegui, who married on 25 March 1714,a few months after Domingo's birth.
De Bonechea's voyages were commissioned by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat y Juniet, who was concerned that Captain Cook's explorations might lead to the creation of British bases from which to attack Peru. De Bonechea reached Tahiti only weeks after Cook, and indeed found an axe left there by Cook's expedition. He recorded a great many local native words.
First voyage (1772-1773)
On September 26, 1772 de Bonechea went on an exploratory expedition to Tahiti. He sailed with Tomás Gayangos as his lieutenant on the Aguila from Callao harbour, Peru. The expedition reached Tahiti on November 13. He anchored opposite Tautira village which de Bonechea christened "Santísima Cruz". De Bonechea forbade himself and his crew any sexual relations with local women, which surprised the Tahitians greatly. He left Tahiti on December 20 and reached Valparaíso on February 21, 1773.
Second Voyage (1774-1775)
The aim of this expedition was the annexation of Tahiti to the Spanish crown, with the approval and encouragement of King Carlos III, and to convert its inhabitants. Two ships, the Aguila and the Jupiter left Callao on September 20, 1774. After winning over Tu, the most important king of the Tahitians, de Bonechea's men were allowed to establish a mission. However, de Bonechea died on January 20, 1775 in Tahiti, where his grave was rediscovered in the 20th century.
The Spanish mission on Tahiti was abandoned on November 12 the same year and the whole enterprise came to an early end.
- Buenechea Regarding his family name.
- Tahanea & Tatakoto, two atolls visited by Domingo de Bonechea before any other recorded European mariner.
- "The 18th Century Sailors", Tahiti Guide.
- Amaru, G. "Tahití hubiera podido ser española", Vivat Academia, No. 1 (Dec. 2005-Jan. 2006).
- Colaboradores de Wikipedia. "Expediciones españolas a Tahití", Wikipedia, La enciclopedia libre.
- Ortiz Sotelo, Jorge. "Expediciones peruanas a Tahití, siglo XVIII." Derroteros de la Mar del Sur, No. 13 (2005), 95-103.
- Riullop, Vicenç. La isla anacreóntica: Las referencias clásicas de los navegantes de la Ilustración. 2004.