Solomon Islands

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     "Mourelle was one of the last great men to navigate the Pacific in the second half of the eighteenth century. He made the last Spanish voyage into the South Pacific in 1780 and 1781 with the frigate La Princesa. They sailed from Manila and Canton through Melanesia and discovered the Vavau group of the Tonga Islands, and also visited the Haapai group of those same islands... Mourelle's second voyage with the Sonora in 1775 explored the coasts of Alta California, the Northwest, and Alaska as far as 62 N. latitude. The great port of San Francisco was first surveyed on this expedition. In 1793 Mourelle returned to Spain and was heavily involved in the naval wars, first with France and then with Great Britain," Daines, Barrington's Miscellanies, 1781.
     The stamp issued in 1981 commemorating Maurelle's visit in 1781 shows his route through the Solomon Islands on the map drawn by Jacques Nicholas Bellin in 1742.

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     The location of the Solomon Islands was uncertain for many years because though many explorers sighted the islands, they did not all identify them with the Solomon Islands. In 1781 Phillippe Buache, a French geographer, presented a paper to the Academie des Sciences, showing that the Solomon Islands discovered by the Spaniards should be sought about 12 30' South latitude, between Santa Cruz and New Guinea, and that those islands discovered by Carteret in 1767, Bougainville in 1768, and by Surville in 1769 were the same. (See the text on the souvenir sheet for further description of the history of the Solomon's, and the purpose of the map. The chart is identified as by Jean Nicholas Buache published in 1791, shows the locations of the islands by Delisle, Danville, Bellin, Pingre, Dudley, Witfliet, and Herrera.  

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