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Cyrille Pierre Théodore Laplace (November 7, 1793 – 1875) was a Frenchmarker navigator famous for his circumnavigation of the globe on board La Favorite. He was pivotal in the opening of French trade in the Pacific and was instrumental in the establishment of the Hawaiian Catholic Church. He achieved the rank of captain.

Early life

Laplace was born at sea on November 7, 1793. He joined the French Navy and fought in the Indianmarker and Atlantic Oceansmarker, along with battles in the West Indiesmarker. He was promoted from Aspirant to Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant in 1823, and to Frigate Captain in 1828. He had been awarded he Cross of Saint-Louis in 1825. He, at some point, was in command of a schooner in Goréemarker, Senegalmarker.

Voyage of La Favorite

As Britishmarker, Americanmarker and Dutchmarker voyages began solidifying their interests in Australia, Hawaiimarker and New Guineamarker, the French governmentmarker sought to secure the religious freedoms and rights of French residents in the South Pacific. Voyages such as that of Jules Dumont d'Urville in the 1820s had already collected vast amounts of knowledge of the area, and the French government were hoping to secure its economic opportunities. Having sent out two voyages already, that of the Astrolabe and the Bayonnaise, the French began drawing plans for a third expedition. The original route planned was designed to complement that of Hyacinthe de Bougainville, re-establishing French influence of the Indo-China area. Laplace's prime objective was to re-establish French influence in Indo-China, to 'show the flag in the area. He was also asked to gather information that may be of use to merchants, such as customs, harbour regulations, conditions of entry and market information. On 30 December, 1829, Laplace departed Toulonmarker with a crew of 177 aboard La Favorite.

Laplace reached Gibraltarmarker in one week, and decided to set sail for Goréemarker. After spending a week in Gorée, the ship then made its way south, crossing the Equator on the 4 February, and sighting the Cape of Good Hopemarker on 6 March. After being forced to skip the scheduled stop in Cape Townmarker due to poor weather, Laplace attempted to continue on to Île Bourbonmarker. After being forced south by winds, La Favorie was hit by a hurricane on 28 March. After reaching Bourbon on 1 April, the hurricane ravaged the island, and was closely followed by another, forcing Laplace to hurriedly set sail for Mauritiusmarker. After returning to St. Denismarker, a shark killed one his crew members who was attempting to desert, and Laplace was unable to recover an anchor he had lost near the island.

On 1 May 1830, Laplace sailed towards India. After completing one of his hydrological assignments, he continued on to Mahé, Seychellesmarker. After six days the crew had made their way past the Maldivesmarker and Ceylon (now known as Sri Lankamarker), before making landfall at Pondicherrymarker on 9 June. In Madras (now known as Chennaimarker), Laplace was able to purchase new anchors and cables, and left on 28 June. On the night of the 29th, La Favorite became grounded on a mudbank. After the initial attempt failed, the ship was freed thanks to the help of the nearby Indiansmarker. Laplace continued onto Yanaonmarker before leaving the Inidan cost on 2 August.

Laplace arrived in Singaporemarker on 17 August, the first of a long series of South East Asian cities. In Manilamarker, many of his crew grew sick; cholera was diagnosed on the land and the crew were reporting having cold and fevers. On 28 September, La Favorite recorded its only cholera fatality, the epidemic cleared up not long after. After travelling via Macaomarker, Laplace arrived in Canton (today Guangzhoumarker), with the intent of discussing the difficulties of French traders to the Chinese authorities. Laplace managed to secure France as the most favoured nation of China. Setting sail on 18 December, Laplace arrived at Tourane (today Da Nangmarker) on 21 December. There, he came across the S. Michel wrecked off the coast and the crew sick. Laplace attempted to allow the crew on board, but many died from their illnesses. In Tourane, Laplace was met with hostility, as the authorities were paranoid of his intentions in the area. It was suspected that La Favorite had a large army concealed in the hold, and Chinese soldiers were brought into the city to oversee Laplace's actions. Laplace left the area in frustration of Emperor Minh Mang's isolationist policies, the diplomatic mission having failed.

On 5 March, Laplace sailed south towards the Natuna Islandsmarker, charting the area as they moved. In particular, Laplace attempted to complement Bougainville's earlier workaround around the Anambasmarker, not finishing his work until 4 April. He then set sail for Surabayamarker in the Dutch East Indiesmarker. There he was informed of the events of the July Revolution, and that a war was expected. After dysentery struck the ship, Laplace moved on to Banyuwangimarker. During the trip, several men died, while morale decreased. Laplace attributed the ships poor health to the decrease of wine rations.

Laplace set sail for Hobartmarker, and sighted Mewstonemarker on 6 July. Two more men were buried on Bruny Islandmarker, before La Favorite was allowed to anchor at Hobart on 11 July. The sick men were sent to hospital, although three men were to die there. Laplace left Hobart on 7 August, and set sail for Sydneymarker, arriving on 16 August. In Sydney the crew went to numerous social events, left to a twenty-one gun salute on 21 September, 1831. Laplace proposed a short break in New Zealandmarker, and anchored in the Bay of Islandsmarker on 2 October. There the crew gave gifts of guns to the Māori chieftains, who in turn greeted them with the haka. Laplace and his crew were 'disgusted' by the display, considering the Māori to be 'savages'. On 11 October, the crew took a number of detailed observations of New Zealand, including the Kawakawa Rivermarker. These observations were taken to be an attempt to claim New Zealand for France, causing excitement in Sydney and even led to the British Government requesting clarification from the French. This concern, nonetheless, hurried the development of the Treaty of Waitangi.

After his stay in New Zealand, Laplace headed east, arriving in Valparaisomarker on 14 November. He continued south past Cape Hornmarker and reached Rio de Janeiromarker on 23 January, 1832. After being farewelled by the crew of a British warship, Laplace set sail for France. After reaching Gibraltarmarker on 11 April, La Favorite anchored in Toulon harbour on 21 April. Laplace's voyage was generally successful, despite the setback in China. His account of the voyage, Voyage autour du Monde par les Mers de l'Inde et de la Chine, was published by the French government in 1833.

Voyage of the Artémise

In 1837, Laplace once again undertook a voyage, this time as captain of the Artémise. The aim of this voyage was primarily political; Laplace delivered a manifesto on the treatment of Catholics in Honolulumarker in July 1839.



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