James Wilson (explorer)

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James Wilson, Captain of the Duff (1904).png
The Cession of the District of Matavai in the Island of Otaheite to Captain James Wilson for the use of the Missionaries Sent Thither by that Society in the Ship Duff, by Robert Smirke.jpg

Captain James Wilson (1760–1814), commanded the British ship Duff, which the London Missionary Society contracted in 1797 to convey a team of missionaries (consisting of thirty men, six women, and three children) to their postings in Tahiti, Tonga, and the Marquesas Islands. During the voyage, Wilson also surveyed (or confirmed the locations of) numerous islands in the Pacific, including Vanua Balavu, Fulaga and Ogea Levu in Fiji, Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, Pukarua in the Tuamotus, and Satawal, Elato, and Lamotrek, in the Caroline Islands. [1]

Three years after the establishment of the British mission in Tahiti, the directors of the Society appointed a committee to consider a suitable memorial for presentation to Wilson for his services in helping to establish the first mission in the South Seas.[2]

He published an account of his voyage: A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean in 1799.


  1. ^ Quanchi, Max (2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810853957.
  2. ^ Smith, B. 1960 European vision and South Pacific 1768–1850, Oxford University Press, London.

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