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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

General Account of New Zealand


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CHAP. VIII. A general Account of New Zealand: its first Discovery, Situation, Extent, Climate, and Productions.

NEW ZEALAND was first discovered by Abel Jansen Tasman, a Dutch navigator, whose name has been several times mentioned in this narrative, on the 13th of December, in the year 1642. He traversed the eastern coast from latitude 34° to 43, and entered the streight which divides the two islands, and in the chart is called COOK’S STREIGHT; but being attacked by the natives soon after he came to an anchor, in the place to which he gave the name of Murderer’s Bay, he never went on shore. He gave the country the name of STAATEN LAND, or the land of the States, in honour of the States-General, and it is now generally distinguished in our maps and charts by the name of NEW ZEALAND. As the whole of this country, except that part of the coast which was seen by Tasman from on board his ship, has from his time, to the voyage of the Endeavour, remained altogether unknown, it has by many been supposed to be part of a southern continent. It is however now known to consist of two large islands, divided from each other by a streight or passage, which is about four or five leagues broad.

These islands are situated between the latitudes of 34° and 48° S. and between the longitudes of 181° and 194° W. which is now determined with uncommon exactness, from innumerable observations of the sun and moon, and one of the transits of Mercury, by Mr. Green, a person of known abilities, who, as has been observed before, was sent out by the Royal Society, to observe the transit of Venus in the South Seas.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 435 - 436, 2004
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