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Thrum Cap
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Longitude Min 139 2 W Latitude Min 18 5 S
The atoll of Akiaki is located in the centre of the eastern Tuamotu archipelago. It lies 45 kilometres west-north-west of Vahitahi.

Cook named the island Thrum Cap in line with his practice of giving newly encountered coastal regions names allowing quick identification by subsequent voyagers. From offshore, Akiaki looks somewhat like the coarse woollen thrum cap often worn by seamen.

By way of contrast, the French voyager Bougainville, who sailed close to the atoll in late March, 1768 named it 'Des Lanciers' (the Isle of Lancers) after seeing on the beach fifteen or twenty men bearing ‘very long pikes, which they brandished against the ships, with signs of threatening...’

Bougainville was intrigued as the origins of the island’s inhabitants, who seemed to him ‘very tall and of a bronze colour. ‘Who can give an account of the manner in which they were conveyed hither,’ he wrote, ‘what communications they have with other beings, and what becomes of them when they multiply on an isle, which has no more than a league in diameter? (Bougainville, trans. Forster: 1772: 205-6)'.


Created: 1 December 2003
Modified: 17 April 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000331

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