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Jean-Baptiste Barthélemy de Lesseps
This book features a travel account of the scientific expedition led by the French Naval officer and explorer Jean-François de Galaup, count of La Pérouse, written from the perspective of a diplomat who had joined the expedition as an interpreter. The expedition’s aims were to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook, whom La Pérouse greatly admired, correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes and enrich French science and scientific collections. The journey started in August 1785 and took the ships south across the Atlantic Ocean, around Cape Horn to the Pacific, stopping at Easter Island, Hawaii, modern-day Alaska, Macao, Manila, the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk and then to the port of Saints Peter and Saint Paul, now Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the eastern side of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Here they rested from their trip, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Russians and Kamchatkans. In letters received from Paris, La Pérouse was ordered to investigate the settlement the British were establishing in New South Wales, Australia. De Lesseps then used a carriage to travel through Krasnoyarsk, Achinsk, Tomsk, Tobolsk, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, and Kungur in the Ural Mountains to Kazan, where he was injured in an accident. To avoid being caught for another winter, he pressed on to Nizhniy Novgorod, then (Veliky) Novgorod, reaching Saint Petersburg, his intended destination in September 1788, more than a year after he started. Given the subsequent loss of both ships, by leaving at Petropavlovsk, de Lesseps became one of three members of the original cast to survive the La Pérouse expedition.
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