Australia : the race to Botany Bay

January 24 is the anniversary of the arrival of La Boussole and L’Astrolabe at the entrance of Botany Bay. Due to bad weather, the expedition did not enter Botany Bay until two days later, on January 26, 1788.

A book (in English) was published at the end of 2021 in Australia: “Beating France to Botany Bay: The Race to Found Australia”. In this book, Margaret Cameron-Ash, deals with the struggle between England and France for the possession of Australia and includes a possible intervention of Lapérouse.

A question may be asked. If this struggle really existed, was it really one of the issues of the Lapérouse expedition? Was Laperouse’s mission really to take possession of this land when we can read the opposite in Louis XVI’s instructions about the visited lands? Was it in Laperouse’s mind to arrive before Arthur Philip at Botany Bay? Reading his voyage report, this does not seem to be the case!

Make up your own mind! The book is available online.

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