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Postby shipstamps » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:19 pm

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French Polynesia issued in May 2006 a set of two stamps and a souvenir sheet, where the 1.30f stamp depict a sailing vessel, what I believe is the Le SOLIDE.

The Polynesian Post gives the following info by the issue:

In the second half of the 18th century, information did not circulate easily. So navigators – tradesmen adventurers, whale hunters or missionaries of all nations who sailed the waters of the Great Pacific, often had the impression to be the first to discover islands that did not appear on their own maps, which were generally very inaccurate. And some of them were keen on giving an “official” name to their discoveries.
But more numerous were those who did not even worry about writing down or telling what they had found.
The Marquesas archipelago, which comprises eleven islands or islets, was called that way by Spanish navigators, after a brief but painful encounter in 1595. Afterwards, the archipelago sank into oblivion until James Cook’s visit, upon his second journey in 1774. James Cook too did not behave in a humane manner with the natives and did not officially take possession of the land.

In 1791 the HOPE, a small American 71 ton trading vessel commanded by Joseph Ingraham sailed across the North-West group of the archipelago. He wanted to put this discovery to his credit and named it after the United States of the Revolution. This is how Ua Huka was given the name “Washington”.
The same year French Captain Etienne Marchand, in command of the Le SOLIDE, and who learnt only later that Ingraham had preceded him, took possession of that same island in the name of France and named it after his vessel “Solide”.
However, on the first maps, the name “Washington Islands” rather refers to the whole North-West island group. The International Philatelic Exhibition which is to be held in Washington from 27 May to 3 June 2006 is the occasion for us to remind this part of history.

Source: ... 006&id=140

The Le SOLIDE was built as a merchantmen on a shipyard at Pharo, Marseilles for the brothers J & D Baux at Marseilles, France.
02 May 1790 launched under the name Le SOLIDE.
Tonnage 300 tons, dim. 23.4 x 7.6 x 5.9m.
Copper sheathed.
Armament 4 – 4pdr guns.., 2 howitzers, 30 rifles, 6 sabres and 6 pistols.
Crew 50.

1789 The French captain Etienne Marchand made a call at St Helena on his way home from Bengal, India.
At St Helena he met and talked to British Captain Nathaniel Portlock on board the KING GEORGE, who was returning from a fur trading voyage to the Northwest coast of North America.
After his return in Marseilles he approached the brothers Baux, and with ther financially backing a ship was built for the fur trade to the west coast of North America.

June 1790 the Le SOLIDE was completed but trouble between Spain and the U.K. over the Nootka Sound the important fur trading post, delayed the sailing.

14 December 1790 the Le SOLIDE set sail and sailed from Marseilles, the first call was made at the Cape Verde Islands before she headed south, was off Staten Island 01 April 1791 and via Cape Horn entered the Pacific Ocean, where she set a northerly course.
When the crew discovered that she were running low on fresh drinking water, Marchand decided to make a call at the Marquesas, which they reached on 12 June.
14 June she anchored in Madre de Dios Bay at the western end of Tahuata. After meeting with the local natives, trading commenced for fresh water and produce.

After six days she left this bay and headed north, the next day they sighted an island, not charted before, it was Ua Pou, thereafter the French sighted more islands the next three days.
At Ua Pou they landed on the west coast and surveyed Vaico Bay and Hakahetau Bay, in this bay he took possession of the island in the name of King Louis XVI.
Other islands could be seen to the west and the north and were investigated before they set sail in a northerly course. He named the group Iles de la Revolution, but he did not know that the islands a year before all were discovered and named by Capt. Joseph Ingraham on the American vessel HOPE.

In March 1792 the British storeship DADALUS on his way to join Vancouver at Nootka sighted the islands again and did give the islands British names. The islands carried now four names a local one, American, French and a British name.

Marchand sailed now to the Northwest Coast of North America, but late in the season he decided to go not farther than 57 North to Kruzof Island, 07 August Mount Edgecumbe was sighted and the Le SOLIDE came to anchor in a bay on the east coast of the island, near the present day Sitka.

There trade began with the local tribe, the Tlingit’s, and Merchand obtained over 100 sea otter pelts.
The next day the Le SOLIDE arrived at Cloak Bay at the northwest point of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Not much trading took place, while most men of the Haida tripe were away hunting, and most otter pelts already were sold to other traders.

01 August believing that all furs had already been sold, Merchand decided to leave, and the Le SOLIDE sailed to the south and reached Vancouver Island on the 4th August. Not much trading took place and he stood off the Barkley Sound for three days.
08 September 1791 he left the North American west coast and headed for Hawaii, which he reached 04 October, leaving from there on 11 October heading for China, after a quick passage he reached Macao on 25 November, where the owners agent told him that the Chinese due to a dispute with the Russians did not buy any furs.

06 December 1791, Merchand sailed out again, taken his furs with him, arrived at Mauritius 30 January 1792. After 11 weeks he sailed out, and via Cape of Good Hope and a short call at St Helena in early June 1792 before proceeding homeward bound, passed Gibraltar 04 August and 14 August 1792 the Le SOLIDE arrived at Toulon, France.

The voyage had only taken 20 months, one man died on a stroke, but financially not any profit was made, only a loss, and his furs were still on board.
The owners send the furs to Lyon but the effects of the French Revolution were felt and the furs were impounded.
Before the furs could be released they went rotten.

Captain Marchand was appointed Captain of the SANS-SOUCI in which he sailed for the Indian Ocean.
14 August 1792 he died on board this ship in Reunion.

Le SOLIDE her history and fate after this voyage not found.

On French Polynesia 2006 130F and MS 190F sg?, scott?

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Postby aukepalmhof » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:27 pm

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