Mendanya and Solomon Islands

At the end of 1567 two caravels emerged from the Peruvian port of Callao. They were equipped with the vice-king of the then Spanish colony of Peru to search for the mysterious Southern continent. The ships were Captain Alvaro de Mendanya.

At the end of 1567 two caravels emerged from the Peruvian port of Callao. They were equipped with the vice-king of the then Spanish colony of Peru to search for the mysterious Southern continent. The ships were Captain Alvaro de Mendanya

Not only the king and Mendanya, but other rich Spanish grandees were very interested in the success of this expedition. Each of them had in Peru silver mines and plantations, on which local people worked. Difficult working conditions and illnesses took lives of thousands of workers. The colonialists risked losing their labor and profits. They began to dream of the Southern mainland. There must live people, stronger and more enduring than the "very tender and painful" Indians. They dreamed of gold, which they will find in these lands.

For more than three months, Mendanya was leading the caravels. In the end, some kind of land appeared ahead. Before the travelers, the low mountains rose, covered with a dense tropical forest. There were large villages. Struck by the picturesque landscape, Mendanya decided that he had discovered the northern shores of the Southern land, where, according to the stories, there was to be the legendary country of Ophir, from where the biblical king Solomon exported much gold and precious stone. But the mysterious land turned out to be a small island, which he called Solomon Islands. The local population was not very hospitable and the Spaniards were not lucky enough to land. But however, the confidence did not leave Mendanya. Returning to Peru, he without the least excitement began to tell his compatriots about the huge treasures of the distant Solomon Islands inhabited by "savages".

Thirty years have passed, and the King of Peru sent a new expedition to the open to Mendanya Golden Solomon Islands. Seated Mendanya went on an expedition on four caravels. He carried a large detachment of soldiers necessary for the conquest of the islands. The expedition kept heading west along 10 degrees south latitude. Soon the islands were discovered, which Mendanya was called Marquesas - in honor of the Spanish viceroy of Peru. Another group of small volcanic islands, which suddenly arose before the seafarers, was named Santa Cruz, that is, the "Holy Cross". However, this time Solomon Islands did not find Mendanya at all.

Sorry Mendanya died on the islands of Santa Cruz, and not finding the Solomon Islands again. From that time, for hundreds of years, the expedition continued to search for the mysterious archipelago. They discovered many new lands, but Solomon Islands seemed to wear a magic invisibility cap.

Only in 1768 the ships of the French expedition Louis Bougainville opened east of the island New Guinea, not indicated on the map, a large archipelago. As it turned out, these were the Solomon Islands, which had been looking for Mendanya for so long.

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