Jean-François de Galoup.
Noteworthy however is the cartographic trip of the Jean-François
de Galoup, Comte de La Pérouse. Since he was the first who really
used the name "the Sea of Japan" and his example was followed
thereafter, his short biography will follow. He was born on 23 August,
1741 near Albi, France. He entered the Navy when he was fifteen, and
fought the British off North America in the Seven Years' War. Later
he served in North America, India and China. In August 1782 he made
fame by capturing two English forts on the coast of the Hudson Bay.
The next year his family finally consented to his marriage to Louise-Eléonore
Broudou, a young Creole from modest origins he had met on Ile de France
(present-day Mauritius). He was appointed in 1785 to lead an expedition
to the Pacific. His ships were the Astrolabe and the Boussole, both
500 tons. They were storeships, reclassified as frigates for the occasion.
"We sighted it on May 21 in the finest weather imaginable and in most favorable conditions for observations. I coasted along the southeast shore at a distance of leagues and we surveyed with the utmost care a length of 12 leagues. One would be hard put to find a more pleasing prospect. ... The various crops which presented a wide range of colors made the appearance of this island even more pleasing,"
However, he did not anchor on the island where the Dutch castaways were shipwrecked in 1653, worrying for the safety of his crew members.
"Unhappily, it belongs to people who are forbidden to communicate with strangers and who currently enslave those unfortunate enough to be shipwrecked on their coast. This story, of which we had an account before us was not of a nature to encourage us to send a boat ashore," adding that their appearance caused some alarm among the locals, who began to light signal fires on all the headlands along the coasts.
They spotted the present Ullûng-do in the East Sea (which he called for unknown reasons, the Sea of Japan) and some of its inhabitants on May 27. The crew wanted to set foot on the new found island, with the good intention of making friends with the locals who ran away at the sight of the foreign vessels.
"I endeavored to approach it but it was exactly in the wind's eye; fortunately it changed during the night and at daybreak I sailed to examine this island, I was very desirous of finding an anchorage to persuade these people by means of gifts that we were not their enemies, but fairly strong currents were bearing us away from the land."
The French navigators then crossed over to Oku-Yeso (Sakhalin). La
Pérouse was enthusiastic about the people of Sakhalin and their friendliness:
In 1791-1793 Antoine de Bruni, chevalier d'Entrecasteaux looked for
La Pérouse, but found no trace of him, and it was not until 1826 that
an English captain, Peter Dillon, found evidence of the tragedy. In
Tikopia (one of the islands of Santa Cruz), he bought some swords
of which he had reason to believe had belonged to La Pérouse. He made
inquiries, and found that they came from nearby Vanikoro, where two
big ships had broken up. Dillon managed to obtain a ship in Bengal,
and sailed for
The map below shows the map La Pérouse made of Cheju-do, the general coast line is not very accurate and the islands are drawn with quite some fantasy. There are no city names shown, nor any indication where harbors were. The scale is interesting though since the on the map nautical miles are mentioned, there were 20 nautical miles in a degree, which makes a nautical mile (Lieu Marine) 5600 meter. The south point's latitude is accurate, though the longitude mentioned is about 250 km too much west. However when one looks at the meridian of Paris (which is probably used by La Pérouse, since no self respecting 17th century French cartographer would use the Greenwich meridian), then again it's pretty accurate. The island of Kapado is recognizable but it is drawn west of the peninsula Songaksan, instead of south of it. Even on a distance of 10 km, one can see those details, so one can start to wonder if they really saw the island or made the map on the oral account from somebody else. On the same map (this is just an out-cut) one can find Dagelet or Ullûng-do
In the remainder of this article a number of maps with a short description will be shown.