Monday , December 6 2021

Kings of the Pacific in an Age of Revolution

Tongan men with canoes, French 19th-century engraving.
Tongan men with canoes, French 19th-century engraving © Bridgeman Images.

It was October 1793. Four days had passed and there was still no news of the naval officer, Count de Trobriand. The French ships Recherche and Espérance lay moored impatiently 25 miles outside the Dutch foothold of Surabaya, now the second largest city of Indonesia, wishing for their trials to be ended. With two thirds of the crew ill, mostly with scurvy, they longed for refreshment and comforting assurances.

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