Talk:Phoenix Islands

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Needs a World Map[edit]

jazzle 19:09, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

here you go.--Ratzer 19:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

List of possible ships, after which the Phoenix islands are named[edit]

Sao Jao y Fenix, also called the Fenis and St. Joseph, a Portugese flagged 50 foot open vessel, that returned Zachary Mudge from the Vancouver Expedition in 1792.

Phoenix, Captain Hugh Moore. An "English" two masted barque of the British East India Company, out of Bombay, involved in the sea otter trade, that was repaired in Prince William Sound in 1792 and wintered on the Columbia River in 1794.

Probably not the Phoenix, named after the British East India Company ship, which was the first ship built in the Russian colony of Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula at Voskressenski. It was commanded by James Shields, a British mariner in the employ of the Russians, for its entire career, 1794-1797.

Phoenix (of London) Captain John Palmer 1824

Phoenix of Nantucket Captain David Harris 1821-1824

Phoenix of New Bedford, whaler Captain Worth 1822, Captain Stetson 1824

Phoenix of New London, a whaling vessel

Notes from suggest that the name was set before 1828

Marine Biology[edit]

Anyone interested in marine biology of the islands can check out this link, and perhaps summarise for this page: Gwinva 21:29, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Researching the history of the Phoenix Islands[edit]

Following a discussion with User:Pustelnik, I've checked out a bit about the discovery and history of the Phoenix islands, which I will present below. Hope this provides a starting point for further research.

Quanchi & Robson (2005)[edit]

From Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands by Max Quanchi and John Robson, USA: Scarecrow Press 2005, ISBN 0810853957

European "discoverers" (from p. xviii-xix):

  • Abariringa (Canton Island) or Kanton: 1825, ? discoverer
  • Enderbury Island: 1823, J. Coffin
  • Birnie Island:  ? not listed in this book
  • McKean Island: 1794 Barner
  • Rawaki (Phoenix Island): 1826 Tromelin
  • Manra (Sydney Island); ? date, Emmett
  • Orona (Hull Island); ? not listed
  • Nikumaroro (Gardner Island): 1825, J Gardner all from p. xviii-xix

Includes Line, Phoenix and Gilbert in the Kiribati group. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gwinva (talkcontribs) 01:45, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Chronologies of explorers' voyages (p xxxviii-xxxix):

  • James Coffin: 1822, British vessel: Transit, 1825-1827, British vessel, Ganges but no idea what he was on in 1823
  • Barner: ??? I have a Henry Barber on Arthur in 1794, but not a Barner...I have checked the spellings, though.
  • Tromelin: 1826-1829 french navy: Bayonnaise
  • Emmett:  ?1820, British merchant vessel: Sydney
  • J Gardner: can't find him, but do have a George Washington Gardner on American whalers Globe and Maria 1815-1828. Later: found him. "Nikumararoro in the Phoenix islands was named 'Gardner's island after Captain Joshua Gardner in 1825, and was later known as Kemins or Kimins island" (p 117)

I can't find those explorers on Wikipedia, but the authors of this dictionary recommend The Discovery of the Pacific Islands by Andrew Sharp and Who's Who of Pacific Exploration by John Dunmore for further info. Gwinva 02:11, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

  • It is Barber not Barner: "Henry Barber: A British Captain on a voyage in the Arthur from Botany Bay (Sydney) to the Northwest coast of America, he sighted McKean Island in the Phoenix group in 1794." from p. 11
  • John Palmer is the name of British whaler (ie ship) captained by John Clerk, who mapped Onotoa atoll and previously-discovered Tamana and Beru atolls in Kiribati in 1826. (p 39) Does this mean there is no John Palmer (person) on a boat called Phoenix??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gwinva (talkcontribs) 02:29, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
  • early European contact with Kiribati (pp88-89)

Kiribati consists of three atoll groups, the Gilberts, Phoenix and Line Islands, and one raised coral island, Banaba (Ocean Island). The main 16 atolls known by names listed by Ivan Krusenstern in 1820s: Scarborough group (north) Simpsons (centre) Kingsmill (south). Kingsmill given to whole archipelago by US Exploring expedition in 1840's. Gilberts used for whole group in 1860s in recognition of the charts made by Thomas Gilbert in 1788. First sighting was Caroline Is 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan. Butaritari sighted 1606 by Pedro Quiros, another 180 yrs before Gilbert named 7 central and northern atolls...Phoenix group of 8 atolls mapped between 1794 & 1826.

further research[edit]

I've found the two books identified above, along with Joan Druett's book cited on Phoenix (of London) as a source for the discovery of Phoenix Is. I'm working my way through them. Current results can be seen at new pages Henry Barber (sea captain), Joshua Gardner (sea captain) and Louis Tromelin. This information can be distilled onto island pages later.Gwinva 01:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I want to do something with J. Coffin as well, but I have him named as both James and Joshua. Trying to google him, I've found this, which is a handy ref for his biography page when he finally gets one [1] (in reference to discoveries in Bonin Islands), plus his (?) shipwreck on Chesterfield Islands. Coffin is a common name in Nantucket circles, however. Gwinva 06:54, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
There's a Joshua and a James, and sources confuse them, along with a Reuben Coffin. I've created Coffin (whaling family) as it would be easiest to put the info on one page. I've made a start, but I'm a bit busy, so will add as I go.Gwinva 05:19, 14

September 2007 (UTC)

Gardner changed to Gardner (whaling family) to allow inclusion of George Washington Gardner. Gwinva 07:47, 18 September 2007 (UTC)


From: Sharp, Andrew (1960); The Discovery of the Pacific Islands, Oxford:Oxford University Press,

"The name Phoenix was given to the group by Wilkes of the US Exploring Expedition of 1838-42 at a time when its geography was imperfectly known, a Phoenix Island having been reoported in the area. The Russian hydrographer Krusenstern, in a note published in 1834, said on the authority of the French explorer Tromelin, who crossed the Pacific in the Bayonnaise in 1823, that the position of Phoenix Island was latitude 3°42'S, longitude 170°43'W, and that Arrowsmith's latitude for Phoenix Island was 0°12' too far north. Jeremiah N Reynolds, in his report of 1828 to the US Navy Department on discoveries by American whaling vessels, gives the position of a 'Phenix Island', described as small and sandy and 3 miles in circumference, as latitude 2°35' S, longitude 171°39'W. Records of American whaling voyages refer to American whaling ships called Phenix and Phoenix prior to Reynold's report in 1828. (p 210)"

Arrowsmith: I presume is John Arrowsmith as his uncle Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823. Gwinva 02:19, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

From Reynold's report of 1828 (based on what he was told by whalers)(pp 210-213):

  • Phenix Island 2°35'S,171°39'W
  • Birney's Island 3°30'S, 171°30' W and Sidney's Island 4°25', 171°20' W discovered by Capt Emmert to be 'found on charts'
  • himself places Sidney's Island at 4°30', 171°20' and then at 4°29', 171°20'
  • un-named island 3°14', 170°50'
  • 2nd un-named 3°35', 170°20
  • Mary Balcout's Island 2°47', 171°58' W, which is almost the same position as a "Mary Island" on Norie's map of 1825 (English hydrographer), and exactly teh same as Canton Island.
  • Barney's Island 3°9', 171°41, which from description is assume dto be another sighting of Canton Island.

(p 211) " Captain Emmett, of the British vessel Sydney, was presumably associated with Captain James Birnie, a contemporary shipping man of London and New South Wales; Tromelin found Sidney's Island again in 1823 and gave its position as 4°26'30", 171°18'. Two islands reputed to be rediscoveries of Emmett's islands but of doubtful longitude were seen by Obed Starbuck, Enderbury Island (a corruption of Enderby's Island), reported by Capt james Coffin of Natucket in 1823 while in command of the Bristish whaler Transit, is shown in early nineteenth century charts in 3°10', 171°10. When these data are compared with the actual geography of teh south-eastern sector of teh Phoenix Islands...the impossibility of deciding who discovered which of these three islands, and when, becomes apparent...(p 212) All that can be said is that Emmett apparently discovered Sydney, and that the first firm reports of Phoenix and Enderbury would appear to have been made by Tromelin and Coffin respectively.

  • If you're interested in Howland's Island, it's credited here to Captain George B Worth of Nantucket whaler Oeno, c. 1822, and called Worth Island. Placed on charts as Howland in Nov 1827 by Daniel MacKenzie od American whaler Minerva Smith.
  • Baker Island called "New Nantucket" by discoverer Obed Starbuck of American shipHero in 1823.
  • Here's Reynold's report online: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gwinva (talkcontribs) 21:56, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
(I'm striking out text as I'm placing it on the pages). Gwinva 07:44, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

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