Map of the Pacific islands including Nauru (1830s) Nauru

Map of the pacific islands including Nauru (1830s)
Map of the pacific islands including Nauru (1830s)

Custodian: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Reference: Sp Coll Ferguson Ag-b.27

This map gives the 19th-century names of the Pacific islands and appears in Michael Russell, Polynesia: or, an historical account of the principal islands in the South Sea, including New Zealand, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Cabinet Library, 1842. Here, Nauru is named Pleasant Island (located in the centre of the map, just south of the equator).

The island was first reached by Europeans in 1798 aboard the British whaling ship, Hunter. The ship was captained by naval officer, John Fearne, who apparently coined the name 'Pleasant Island' following a positive encounter with indigenous islanders. Pleasant Island remained the name until the island came under German governance in 1888.

Michael Russell (1781–1848) was an alumnus of the University of Glasgow, graduating MA in 1806 and LLD in 1820. In 1837 he was ordained Episcopal Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. Among his many publications, Polynesia was one of six volumes on distant lands and cultures he contributed to the Edinburgh Cabinet Library between 1831 and his death. (Thomas Finlayson Henderson, 'Russell, Michael' in Dictionary of National Biography 1885–1900, vol. 49, pp. 467–8, online edition [accessed 17 October 2013]).