Anne Di Piazza , Erik Pearthree

La rencontre de deux cartographes. Tupaia et Cook ou la confrontation de deux savoirs géographiques

Note This article is available also in french. This file is added free of charge to the order of its translated version.
  • Abstract

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From the time of the earliest European explorations of the Pacific, western navigators would ask the islanders to describe the location of all the islands they knew, in order to benefit from their geographical knowledge. The best example is the chart that resulted in 1769 from the collaboration between Capt. James Cook of the Royal Navy and Tupaia, high priest and navigator from the Society Islands. This map of the Pacific depicts 74 islands and resembles a nautical chart of the time, although many of the islands seem to be misplaced. In this article we demonstrate that this document is a hybrid combining two very different geographic representations: one Tahitian (island compasses) and one western (Mercator projection). Thus, it can only be read by means of an intellectual accommodation, that is, by decomposing and reassembling the work of each of the two authors.

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