Monday, January 28, 2008

Louis XVI and the Voyage of La Pérouse

In 1785 Louis XVI commissioned the naval hero La Pérouse to outfit two ships for an expedition to explore the unknown regions of the Pacific Ocean. Both Louis and La Pérouse had read of the discoveries of Captain Cook and Louis did not want the British to outstrip the French in nautical explorations. The king, who was a skilled amateur cartographer and geographer, painstakingly mapped out the voyage which lasted for three years. The adventurers pinpointed the exact location of previously unknown Pacific Islands. In 1788, however, La Pérouse and his men encountered cannibals and the crews of both frigates perished miserably. One man escaped with maps and charts so that the voyage was not in vain. The tragedy destroyed the theory of the philosophes that man in his primitive state was benign and peaceful. Here is an account of the voyage and the discoveries. Share

3 comments:

julygirl said...

It is hard for me to understand why Louis VXI was considered a fool and a dolt. I suppose in the unforgiving French Court not being suave was a punishable offence.

SunKing said...

He was a genius, a true and the first revolutionary man of the Europe. Revolutions always consume their own child first and he was ,rightly so, the first victim for the idea of freedom which he constantly promoted. There are many stories about his lack of intelligence which are all made up by the creators of the unrests (Americans-British.) In a way people who were in huge debt to Louis and France both financially and morally, decided the best way to erase their debts is to get rid of Louis and France all together, they were not needed any more by anyone.

elena maria vidal said...

Excellent points!