In May 1606 Pedro Fernandez de Quirós and
LuisVaes de Torres landed in the islands now known as Vanuatu. Quirós
mistook it for part of the "Southern Continent" and took possession of
it on behalf of the King of Spain with the name Australia del
Espiritu Santo. They stayed until June and then left De
Quirós sailed back to Acapulco, Mexico. In time the name Australia
became the name of the smallest continent, while Espiritu Santo
became the name of the largest island in Vanuatu.
From July to December 1606 de Torres
discovered the Torres Strait. He sailed along the south coast of New
Guinea. . He also discovered the Cape York peninsula of Australia
discovered by Willem Jansz earlier in 1606. The eastern coast of the
peninsula was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770. De Torres was
not given credit for his discoveries until 1759 when Alexander
Dalrymple discovered Torres' report in Manila and named it for him.
The stamp features a map of the Pacific with de Torres'
route from South America through the strait and on to Manila where he
apparently spent the rest of his life.